ULYANOVSK, Russia — A Russian woman reportedly died after a routine procedure when hospital workers mistakenly injected her with a drug used to preserve dead bodies.
Ekaterina Fedyaeva, 28, underwent surgery last month at a hospital in Ulyanovsk, in western Russia, to have ovarian cysts removed, according to state-owned television station RT.
During the March 15 operation, however, medical personnel gave Fedyaeva what should have been saline, but turned out to be formalin, which contains formaldehyde, according to Russia’s Tass news agency. Formalin is highly toxic if ingested, and just one ounce can kill an adult.
Hospital staff realized the mistake two minutes later and tried to wash out the formalin, but it was too late – the embalming fluid was already making its way through her body.
“Mom, I’m dying,” Fedyaeva later told her mother, who thought she wasn’t being serious at the time, according to RT. Fedyaeva was rushed to Moscow’s A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical and Biophysical Center where doctors administered multiple drugs in an attempt to counteract the formalin, according to Tass, but they were unable to save her.
At one point, doctors brought her to back to consciousness and Fedyaeva’s mother said she opened her eyes and whispered to her, according to RT. In the end, however, Fedyaeva’s organs started to shut down and she died Thursday.
News of the horrific death quickly spread, and headlines about a woman being “embalmed alive” soon appeared on international news sites.
The minister of health, family and social well-being in Ulyanovsk, Rashid Abdullov, expressed “sincere condolences” to Fedyaeva’s family.
Abdullov said the mix-up at the hospital happened because the medical staff “did not read the name on the vial,” according to RT.
“We will provide all the necessary assistance to the family. All the guilty officials have already been held accountable, the investigating authorities continue to work,” Abdullov tweeted Thursday.
The head physician at the hospital where Fedyaeva received the fatal dose has been fired, according to local news reports.