After the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the first place where the injured were hospitalized was the Pripyat Hospital No. 126. L.N. Moslencova, V.P. Belokon and A.I. Skachek as well as two nurses W.I. Kudrina and G.I. Dedovec were on duty in the hospital clinic that night.
Only a few minutes after the explosion, an ambulance with one doctor (Skachek) and a driver (A.A. Gusarov) on board was despatched from the hospital in Pripyat. Gusarov later admitted in an interview that they had gone to the power plant without any protective clothing. “It supposed to be only a fire”, he said.
After a short while, they both realized that they needed help, as many people were seriously injured by the explosion and thermal burns. V. Belokon was sent to help them along with several ambulances. Both decided that it would be best to change the injured at the power plant, but due to the lack of a relatively sterile place, they changed the patients in the ambulance. They began classifying the victims based on the severity of their injuries under the power and the first casualties were transported to the hospital in Pripyat and about 40 minutes after the accident.
In the hospital, the wounded were treated by G.N. Shikhovtsov, A.P. Iliasov and L.M. Chukhnov. The managers of the department N.F. Maltsev, trauma surgeons A.M. Ben, W. Mironenko as well as traumatologists M.G. Nuriachmedov and M.J. Belichenko and a surgical nurse M.A. Boyko also arrived to assist. Dr. Belokon returned to Pripyat before 10 a.m. and immediately went to the ward with the victims of the accident. His diagnosis: radiation sickness.
Petro Palamarchuk and the ambulance driver Gumarov met a similar fate, both of them were irradiated trying to help Vladimir Shashenok, an engineer working at the Chernobyl Power Plant. Shashenok was found by Palamarchuk and Gumarov unconscious under rubble in room no. 604. He died few hours later in Pripyat Hospital due to a damaged spinal cord and multiple internal injuries.
In the evening of the April 26th a group of doctors arrived from Moscow and selected 28 people who were urgently transported to Kiev, and then from the Borispol airport to Moscow. Today in the basement of hospital number 126, there are clothes of power plant workers and firefighters who were the first victims of one of the greatest nuclear disasters in history.
Guest post by Emilia Ochtera