Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Coronavirus: Wealthy Russians ‘hoarding ventilators as country faces shortages’

Wealthy Russians are hoarding ventilators, leaving the country facing inevitable shortages, a respiratory specialist has told Sky News.

Vasiliy Shtabnitskiy said there was a lot of “bias and distortion” in Russia’s healthcare system and he cast doubt on the government’s claim it has 40,000 ventilators to treat coronavirus patients.

He cautioned that the figure – which is a much higher baseline than the UK’s roughly 9,000 – could be an “over or under-estimate”.

Countries across the world are trying to buy or produce ventilators, which are essential machines to provide oxygen for patients suffering lung failure in severe COVID-19 cases.

Mr Shtabnitskiy, a Moscow-based medical specialist known as a pulmonologist, said he was aware of rich residents in Russia’s capital buying up and hoarding ventilators.

“Yes, I know such examples,” he told Sky News’.

“I understand people are scared but I must remind them that they also need to have highly pressured oxygen and air, a special bed, monitoring, infusion pumps, suction device, catheters, infusion solutions and vasoactive agents – essentially a bedside laboratory.”

The machines need at least two or three intensive care unit doctors, and additional nurses and medical staff – making it “impossible to create a private ICU in a bedroom or in the office”, he warned.

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