A top Russian doctor is under investigation when seven patients died after they were allegedly given battery fluid before having x-rays.
Around two dozen other patients became violently ill while preparing for gastrointestinal x-rays at St Petersburg’s Municipal Diagnostic Center No. 1. They were given what they believed to be barium sulfate, a compound typically used as a contrasting agenty to make the esophagus, stomach, and intestines show more clearly in CT scans or x-rays.
“In this clinic, they simply took an uncertified powder and dissolved it in water,” pathologist Zhanna Shmidt told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, according to the New York Post. “What they received was actually battery fluid. This is not a metaphor – it’s how it was. Car batteries also contain barium salts.
“As I understand it, this technical powder was sold for some kind of laboratory research, and not for oral use. In reality, it turns out that people drank battery fluid, naturally causing damage to the intestine, severe burns, poisoning.”
The clinic’s website says that it has temporarily stopped doing gastric examinations with barium sulfate and will resume after an investigation is complete and the cause of the poisoning has been uncovered.
The Post’s story, quoting Russian news sources, said that at least four of patients died within 12 hours of drinking the substance and that medics initially disregarded their symptoms.
One man, 42-year-old Alexey Tsaryov, told clinic personnel he “felt dizzy and his eyes went dark” after the procedure, according to his wife, Alexandra Tsaryova. “They said, ‘Go home, and lie down,'” she said.
Tsaryov was readmitted to the hospital later after he began vomiting and could not stand. He later died, along with six others, most of them elderly women.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into the incidents and detained Dr Yevgeny Popov on suspicion of causing death by negligence and providing substandard services.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast
[Featured image: Municipal Diagnostic Center No. 1/Google Maps]