Often, there isnt enough space for the bodies in the refrigerator, so staffers leave them lying one after the other in the corridor, treading around them on their way to the examination room. Bracing winter temperatures are all that keeps them cold: Heat given off by a working refrigerator would cause all the other bodies to decompose, so they almost never turn it on. Aided only by a handful of volunteer medics, they work backbreaking hours without qualified staffing reinforcements and often owing to a bureaucratic snafu over Ukraines economic blockade of rebel-held territory without even getting paid.
A Russian-backed rebel offensive has pushed hospitals and morgues on the frontline in eastern Ukraine to breaking point. BuzzFeed News’ Max Seddon reports from eastern Ukraine, with photographs by Max Avdeev.
“We have basically been thrown to the winds of fate,” the director of the morgue, Ruslan Fedonyuk, a lithe, hunchbacked man in his fifties, told BuzzFeed News during a cigarette break from the 40 autopsies his morgue performed on Tuesday. “But we are so crazy that we keep going. Maybe we should charge for entry.”
The protracted battle is producing casualties at a rate that local medical facilities, already woefully decrepit and underfunded, are barely able to handle. Hospitals in Debaltseve and nearby Svitlodarsk have one doctor between them after shelling damaged both buildings irreparably, prompting staff to flee en masse. Over a million Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflict. Casualties In Ukraines War Are Soaring Medics And Morgues Can’t Keep Up – BuzzFeed News