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‘I won’t take her home to die’: Russian paramedic filmed desperately pleading as hospital refuses to admit 90-year-old woman

A video of a paramedic begging a Russian hospital to admit a 90-year-old woman has gone viral, as some of the country’s regions begin to buckle under the pressure of increased admissions due to Covid-19.

Filmed on Sunday in Abakan, a city over 3,000km east of Moscow, the medical worker can be heard screaming in desperation.

“I won’t take her home to die!” the paramedic exclaims. “She’s 90 years old. She survived the war! What are you doing? Why should I cry from the ambulance and beg you to take the patient?”

The video didn’t capture the conversation’s conclusion, but according to a spokeswoman from the regional Ministry of Health, the patient was eventually hospitalized in a different location.

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Abakan is the capital of Khakassia, a Russian republic in Siberia. Famous for its steppe and mineral resources, it was initially populated by the Khakas people, but is now mainly ethnic Russian. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 8,365 Khakassians have been diagnosed with coronavirus, and there have been 87 deaths.

Also on Sunday, a different local medical worker recorded a video complaining about the region’s situation as hospitals fill up with Covid-19 patients. In the clip, directed at President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, an ambulance driver complains about a catastrophic shortage of beds in hospitals and a lack of medicines. Whether the president saw the video remains unknown, but on Monday, Assistant to the Minister of Health Olesya Starozhinskaya flew to the republic to conduct an audit, along with another official and two pulmonologists.

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The ambulance team took the patient to the quarantine center in Kommunarka.
As Russia breaks record for daily Covid-19 cases, Moscow’s main specialist infections hospital has no empty beds for new patients

Last week, the director of Russia’s Department of Emergency Medical Care and Health Risk Management, Inna Kulikova, admitted that the country’s healthcare system was overburdened and suffering from staff shortages.

“The main problems are the overload on hospital capacity, the necessary emphasis on the supply of medicines for outpatients, personnel shortages, and diagnostic shortages,” she explained. In October, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced that 81 percent of hospital beds in the country were occupied, with 16 regions seeing their medical facilities filled by more than 90 percent.

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