My mother and stepfather live in a small, rural Russian northeast village called Mihaylovka. In order to survive the freezing Russian winters, the villagers cut their own wood to heat their homes. A couple of weeks ago, while my mother was visiting me in the states, my stepdad was chopping wood in a nearby forest to prepare for the winter. He got caught under a pine tree which fell onto his right hip, pinning him to the ground. It took him an hour to get himself out from under that tree, then another hour to crawl to his pickup truck, and about 40 minutes to get into that truck. He somehow managed to drive (on unpaved, dirt roads) to his brother’s house in the village where they immediately took him to the local hospital.
He was in that hospital for almost two weeks before my mom was able to join him. The condition in which she found him was horrendous. Not only was he still in the same clothes he was brought in, but he was not being given any pain medication, nor was there any surgery done. He had suffered from a fractured right pelvis, and he was still laying in the same position, on a rattling metal-frame bed from the 1950’s. The only thing that hospital did was elevate his legs. By the time my mother arrived, he had developed multiple pressure ulcers and even skin necrosis. There was also no one to clean up bowel and bladder movements for his whole stay there.
Once my mom notified me of these appalling conditions (appalling for those of us used to Western hospital conditions, but the norm for villagers of remote Russian areas), I was able to send some finances to cover the cost of staying there, along with basic medical supplies and over-the-counter pain medication. In these types of hospitals, the patient has to come up with their own medical provisions, including a urinal, wet wipes, gauze, wound care supplies, diapers, and even pain medication.
I knew I had to get him out of that hospital quickly for him to be able to receive any actual medical care, and he was eventually transferred via ambulance (again, on unpaved, dirt roads) to the new, state of the art hospital in Vladivostok two hours away. At this hospital, he was finally able to undergo surgery for his fractured pelvis, complete with screws and a partial hip replacement. However, this was only after a week of being on anticoagulation therapy, as he had developed a blood clot in one of his legs during his stay at the Mihaylovka hospital.
There are no healthcare programs in Russia that my stepdad can take advantage of, nor does he have any health insurance, as insurance comes at a very high cost for the majority of Russian citizens. His daily bill is 4,000 rubles (about $70 USD), and he currently has a little over $6,000 USD to pay back, with no income at the present. He is expected to start walking again only in 3-4 months, with proper rehab, which will also cost a significant amount.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my stepdad’s situation and horrific treatment. I’ve been providing as much material support as I can, but it’s still not enough to cover all the care he’s finally receiving. Any financial assistance will be greatly felt!
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