Learning from the Russian woman who died after a botched surgery: Here’s what happens when you get injected with embalming fluid
What was supposed to be a routine IV drip for one woman turned out to be a prolonged and agonizing death sentence, when hospital staff mistakenly injected her with formalin, which effectively led to her being embalmed alive.
As online reports go, 27-year old Ekaterina Fedyaeva is said to have died after medics put her on a formalin drip instead of a saline drip, thereby causing her untimely demise. This incident occurred in her home city of Ulyanovsk, Russia, and now her mother has accused the physicians in charge of the procedures that caused her death with murder.
Her death couldn’t have been more unexpected. It is said that Fedyaeva was in the hospital simply for an unspecified but routine surgery, and that the fact that she got injected with formalin was purely a mistake on the part of the physicians in charge of her operation.
Fedyaeva reportedly suffered through convulsions and horrible pains for the next two days after being injected with the deadly concoction, before finally falling into a coma. She was even attached to a life support machine during her ordeal, but her heart had stopped beating several times throughout. (Related: Formaldehyde now officially listed as cancer-causing chemical; here are the top sources of exposure.)
While she suffered, she was also flown to a different hospital, located in Moscow, where she briefly woke from her coma. However, this didn’t signify the beginning of her recovery, as she ended up dying due to multiple organ failure a short while later. Her mother remarked that while she showed movement, they were not indicative of a positive outcome in any way at all.
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“Her legs were moving, she had convulsions, her whole body was shaking,” said Galina Baryshnikova, mother to Fedyaeva. She and Fedyaeva’s husband Igor were both present in the ward during the fatal ordeal. “I put socks on her, then a robe, then a blanket but she was shivering to such an extent, I can’t even describe it.”
Formaldehyde is something that is seen as a major health concern due to a large number of studies. Not to mention, it has already been identified as a carcinogenic substance by the U.S. Department of Health. In one of the government agency’s reports, it is said that people in certain industries could be vulnerable to the effects of exposure to it, such as those who are working on the funeral industry. Furthermore, it is said that people exposed to concentrated levels of formaldehyde are a lot more likely to develop certain cancers like myeloid leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer.
According to Baryshnikova, she pleaded with doctors as much as she could, but in the end, they either couldn’t or simply wouldn’t help her. “No doctor came to see her although she was coming around from anaesthetic. We have no idea it was formalin,” he lamented. “Now I understand that formalin was simply eroding her body from the inside.”
Perhaps the worst part of the entire ordeal is that the people who performed the surgery already knew what went wrong, but they didn’t do any urgent measures to fix the problem. A criminal investigation is currently underway, but it will do very little to compensate for the loss of the victim’s life.
Read more about the inherent risks of hospital visits in DangerousMedicine.