A woman suffering from beast cancer was agonisingly crushed to death during a treatment session by a malfunctioning radiation machine.
Grandmother Valentina Minakova, 51, suffered fatal blows to her chest and abdomen as the medical apparatus squashed her in a hospital in the Russian city of Voronezh.
‘She sustained body injuries that caused her death on the spot,’ said the regional prosecutor’s office.
One report citing a doctor said that the patient was ‘screaming in agony’ when the ‘table’ – part of the apparatus – on which she was lying suddenly moved upwards and wedged her against a moving part of the machine.
Victim Valentina Minakova, 51, with her husband Alexander who was waiting in the corridor when she was crushed to death by a malfunctioning radiation machine
The patient’s alarmed husband Alexander was waiting in the corridor outside and rushed into the medical room.
‘When he heard his wife screaming, he rushed inside and tried to save her from under the heavy machine but failed,’ said one source.
Medical staff also tried to free the woman but were unable to do so.
A picture from LifeShot news outlet showed the scene where the woman died.
At the time of the accident, the Czech-made gamma-therapeutic Teragam radiation machine was being operated by a technician not a doctor.
The machine, made in 2006, has an emergency ‘Stop’ button but sources said either this did not work, or was not pressed.
Ivan Moshurov, chief doctor at the Voronezh Regional Clinical Oncology Centre, was initially described as too distraught to speak.
But later he said: ‘The cover of the table on which the patient was located went abruptly upwards and pressed her against the collimator – the part of the device where the gamma radiation comes from.
‘Unfortunately, death came literally on the table.
‘It happened in seconds.
‘This is a tragedy for our entire team, and for all her loved ones.’
The woman’s daughter Maria, 32, has told that her mother had been undertaking a radiation therapy course for a week and a half and had never complained about the machine.
Valentina had been diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago but refused to give up and believed she would defeat the disease.
‘Doctors were so shocked about it that they also needed help,’ said a family member.
‘Detectives will sort it out.
‘It does not really matter now what happened there and why.
‘It won’t help us, nobody will bring us back our relative.’
Her friend Tatiana said in tears: ‘I saw her for the last time right before her fatal trip to Voronezh.’
She had been undergoing difficult treatment but remained ‘full of smiles’.
‘She showed me photographs of her grandchildren, they were everything for her, she loved them so much,’ said Tatiana.
‘She tried not to talk about her disease, it is obviously so hard.
‘But she was a fighter, she was sure to win.
‘She has passed a complicated surgery and chemo-therapy, doctors gave positive forecasts.
‘And now this happened… how can you believe it that a person can die in a hospital like this, in front of all the doctors?’
Voronezh Regional Health Department said: ‘The staff has immediately called an ambulance and police.
‘All the reasons and circumstances will be established.
‘Experts are working on it.’
A criminal case has been opened by the Russian Investigative Committee based on ‘causing death by negligence’.
‘Investigators carried out an inspection of the scene of the accident, ordered a forensic medical examination to determine the exact cause of the patient’s death, and took explanations from the medical staff the relatives of the deceased,’ said a statement from state investigators.
‘Investigation of the criminal case continues.’
Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova also sent a team to the hospital.