Russian Woman Faces Horrific Death After Doctors Confuse Saline With Formaldehyde

Epsilon / StringerGetty Images

According to Newsweek, a criminal investigation has been launched into the death of a young Russian woman who died earlier this week at the hands of hospital staff. Hospital malpractice suits and horror stories have run rampant for years, but few equal the gruesome nature of this narrative.

When 28-year-old Ekaterina Fedyaeva was admitted to an Ulyanovsk hospital for a routine surgical procedure, no one could have expected the tragic outcome. The medical staff made the fatal mistake of confusing saline solution with a mixture containing formaldehyde.

Formalin, which is 37 percent formaldehyde, is used to embalm and preserve dead bodies or organs for study. Ingesting only one ounce of this solution is enough to kill an adult, and Fedyaeva’s body responded accordingly.

Hospital staff reported that they noticed the mistake roughly two minutes into the procedure and took steps to flush the mixture from her body. Unfortunately, this wasn’t successful and Fedyaeva began to experience the devastating effects of the mistake.

She was flown to Moscow’s A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical and Biophysical Center via emergency transport to try and combat the effects of the drug. Doctors tried combinations of more than 52 different medications in an attempt to reverse the damage being done by the formalin.

Russian Medevac Helicopter
Featured image credit: Clive Mason Getty Images

According to Galina Baryshnikova, Fedyaeva’s mother, her daughter suffered extreme pain and convulsions for two days before slipping into a coma and passing away. Baryshnikova claims that the original hospital staff treated her with little respect and told her to “go home” when she questioned their care of her daughter.

“Her legs were moving, she had convulsions, her whole body was shaking,” Baryshnikova said. “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. No doctor came to see her although she was coming round from anesthetic.”

Baryshnikova continued, saying, “[the formalin] was simply eroding her body from the inside,” and that the “people who performed the surgery knew that they infused something wrong. They needed to take some urgent measures, but they did nothing.”

The minister of health for the Ulyanovsk region, Rashid Abdullov, has publicly offered his condolences to Fedyaeva’s family. Abdullov claims that she regained consciousness for a brief period of time during her ordeal, but the medical staff were unable to save her. The damage had simply been too great.

The story has garnered international attention due to the graphic and terrifying circumstances surrounding Fedyaeva’s death. The actual name of the hospital at the center of the criminal charges has been kept from the public. Abdullov has confirmed reports that the hospital staff who perpetrated the fatal mistake have been “let go.”