RUSSIA: Two healthcare workers are dead while one has suffered severe injuries after each fell from hospital windows over the past two weeks.

Russian authorities are investigating unusual incidents to determine a cause. Two out of the three healthcare workers involved fell through the hospital windows after reportedly disagreeing and challenging officials in Russia’s state-run healthcare system over COVID-19 related issues.

The hospitalized healthcare worker is Russian paramedic Alexander Shulepov. Shulepov reportedly fell from his second-story hospital room and is now in the intensive care unit, suffering serious injuries in the skull, Latvia-based independent news outlet Meduza reports.

On April 22, Shulepov, together with his colleague Alexander Kosyakin, posted a video online where he said that he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus but was still being forced to go to work. Shulepov was hospitalized for the coronavirus the same day he posted the video. On April 25, Shulepov posted another video and recalled his condemnations against his work and supervisor.

Kosyakin, on the other hand, has been wanted by Russian authorities for spreading fake news about the COVID-19 virus. Kosyakin had previously expressed his complaints regarding the lack of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPEs) in Russian hospitals for healthcare workers treating and dealing with coronavirus-positive patients. Kosyakin spoke to CNN and said that he last checked with colleague Shulepov on April 30 and mentioned that Shulepov was getting ready to be discharged from the hospital. “He felt fine, he was getting ready to get discharged from the hospital…and all of a sudden this happened, it’s not clear why and what for, so many questions that I don’t even have the answer to,” Shulepov said.

Another healthcare worker who fell from a hospital window was Elena Nepomnyashchaya, who was the acting head of Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk Krai Hospital for War Veterans. On April 25, Nepomnyashchaya fell from a fifth-floor window, reportedly either during or immediately after a conference call with Russia’s regional Health Minister Boris Nemik. The call was apparently regarding the conversion of one of Nepomnyashchaya’s hospital buildings into a ward for coronavirus patients. Nepomnyashchaya strongly opposed the idea. After the fall, she was placed in the ICU, but later on, she died from severe injuries.

Another hospital worker who died after falling from a window was Natalya Lebedeva, who ran emergency operations in a hospital near Moscow. Also coronavirus-positive, Lebedeva died on April 24 after falling out of a hospital window. Meduza reported that although the official cause of Lebedeva’s death was declared to be an accident, her colleagues said that Lebedeva “committed suicide after being accused of infecting a number of subordinates with the coronavirus.”

News regarding the breakdown and struggles of Russia’s state-run healthcare system because of the coronavirus has circulated on the internet despite the government’s efforts to control information coming out of their country. Reports of mass resignations of hospital workers and lack of supplies in hospitals have leaked out.

On April 27, a former health worker at one of Moscow’s hospitals stepped out and appeared in an online video saying that there really is a mass resignation ongoing in hospitals across Russia. The former nurse claimed that she has worked honestly and did her duty. “I worked for two shifts and sometimes three shifts in a row. They stopped feeding us. We had to reuse our stuff.”