A cancer patient undergoing radiation therapy was crushed to death by the very machine being used to treat her.
The incident happened at a hospital in Voronezh, Russia.
Fifty-one-year-old Valentina Minakova had her chest and abdomen crushed as she screamed in agony before dying on the spot.
The regional prosecutor’s office said, “She sustained body injuries that caused her death on the spot.”
The patient was lying down on the table part of the apparatus when it suddenly elevated and pinned her against part of the machine that was moving downwards, causing the patient to scream “in agony.”
Valentina’s husband Alexander was alarmed by the screams and rushed into the room.
One source said, “When he heard his wife screaming, he rushed inside and tried to save her from under the heavy machine but failed.”
Medical staff also tried to intervene but failed to save the woman.
A technician was reportedly the one operating the gamma-therapeutic Teragam radiation machine, made in Czechoslovakia in 2006, not a doctor when the freak accident happened.
The machine includes an emergency “Stop” button but sources said it either didn’t work or was not pressed on time.
The chief doctor at the Voronezh Regional Clinical Oncology Center, Ivan Moshurov, was too distraught to speak at first but later said: “The cover of the table on which the patient was located went abruptly upwards and pressed her against the collimator – the part of the device where the gamma radiation comes from.
“Unfortunately, death came literally on the table. It happened in seconds.
“This is a tragedy for our entire team, and for all her loved ones.”
Valentina’s daughter, Maria, 32, said that her mother had been undergoing treatment for a week and a half but had never encountered any problems with the machine.
Valentina was diagnosed with breast cancer last year but was optimistic she could beat the disease.
One family member said about the accident, “Doctors were so shocked about it that they also needed help. Detectives will sort it out.
“It does not really matter now what happened there and why. It won’t help us, nobody will bring us back our relative.”
A friend named Tatiana was in tears as she said: “I saw her for the last time right before her fatal trip to Voronezh.”
Valentina had been “full of smiles” despite the difficult treatment.
“She showed me photographs of her grandchildren, they were everything for her, she loved them so much,” Tatiana added. “She tried not to talk about her disease, it is obviously so hard. But she was a fighter, she was sure to win.
“She has passed a complicated surgery and chemotherapy, doctors gave positive forecasts. And now this happened… how can you believe it that a person can die in a hospital like this, in front of all the doctors?”
The Voronezh Regional Health Department announced: “The staff has immediately called an ambulance and police. All the reasons and circumstances will be established.
“Experts are working on it.”
In the meantime, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case based on “causing death by negligence.”
State investigators said in a statement: “Investigators carried out an inspection of the scene of the accident, ordered a forensic medical examination to determine the exact cause of the patient’s death, and took explanations from the medical staff the relatives of the deceased.
“Investigation of the criminal case continues.”
Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova also dispatched investigators to the site of the accident.
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