Ukraine: A Sad Story from The Life of the Substitution Therapy Patient

Recently two Ukrainian bloggers focused on harm reduction issues. Livejournal users depo3p and zpt_users reposted a story of a patient of the opiate replacement therapy (ORT) from the town of Shostka. The patient appeared to be in a serious trouble, and despite that fact the main reason of the problem was his behavior, the other patients did everything they could to help him.

The story was first published by the blogger vovan9619.  He posted:

День добрый Всем !!!  Хотелось бы поделиться некоторыми новостями,касаемо Сайта ЗПТ и его Участников..  Есть у нас (в Шостке) такой вот Лёша..На программе он вместе с Женой. Имеют маленькую …. Около года принимал препарат Он , чуть меньше-его жена.. Около двух недель назад,пропустив один день выдачи(по своим причинам..) он пришёл на сайт,через час после его закрытия.  Будучи пьяным,он не понимал-почему ему не выдают препарат.  Старшая медсестра-отказала в выдаче,..  Тогда он не отдавая себе отчёт в поступке-схватил её за горло и стал душить..,  На следующий день,его исключили из программы, мало того-ст.медсестра,написала заявление на него,обвинив в побоях(..??)


Good day to everyone. I just wanted to share the news concerning our ORT site and the patients. There is a guy Lesha in our town, He attends the program together with his wife. They have a little daughter …He is on medications for about a year, and his wife just a little bit less. A couple of week ago he missed the business hours of the site (for his own reasons) and came to the site one hour after it was closed. He was drunk and could not understand why he can not receive the medicine. The senior nurse refused to give it to him. Then he started to strangle her not understanding what he was doing … next day he was expelled from the program and the nurse filed a report accusing him beating her.

In a few days the other patients of the ORT site started to worry about Lesha and his wife and decided to visit him.  They found Lesha in a very bad condition, drunk and with severe abstinent syndrome. They decided to help him. Vovan9619 wrote:

В-общем провели с ним беседу,где он клятвенно пообещал-прекратить Пить и извиниться перед медсестрой.  После чего было написано ходатайство глав.врачу, с просьбой восстановить его на Программе ЗПТ.. Глав.врач-подписал ходатайство,и спустя несколько дней,-Лёшу восстановили.  ….  В кругу Тех Людей,кто за него поручился-Лёша клятвенно пообещал не приходить на сайт-в нетрезвом состоянии,зная о том,-что может за ЭТО,получить “по ушам”-от Своих же,которых он может подвести…    А мораль сей Истории такова;- ЗПТ и Алкоголь(даже – пиво !!!..)- НЕСОВМЕСТИМО !!!!


So we talked to him and he swore that he would stop drinking and apologies to the nurse. Than we submitted the appeal to the head doctor asking to renew him into the ORT program – and the doctor agreed to do this and in few days Lesha was renewed into the program. ….Lesha promised that he will never come to site drunk again to people who were like him. And he knew that he could be punished by these people and he could not let this people down. And the moral of this story is – ORT and alcohol (even a beer) are not compatible!!!!

After a few days the bloggers posted the second part of this story and it was not a story with a happy and. Vovan9619 posted:

Участник ЗПТ “ЛЁША ВАЩЕНКОВ”, благодаря тому что его все участники ЗПТ взяли на поруки и человеческому отношению главврача Орищак Н.С. Был возвращён на программу ЗПТ. Но … его здоровье было на столько подорвано, что он первый день еле пришел, второй день его привела мать. Лёша реально бредил , по всему видно, что очень БОЛЬШИЕ проблемы со здоровьем. Это не могли не заметить “наши” врачи из сайта и поэтому в срочном порядке он был направлен ….на второй этаж (стационар наркологии). Его осмотрел врач-нарколог … и .. определил, что ему нужно срочное обследование ХИРУРГА! Через 10 мин он уже был у хирурга, (рядом 50 метров поликлиника №1) Хирург в СРОЧНОМ порядке направил Ващенкова Лёшу в приёмное отделение ЦРБ г. Шостка.
    Лёше становилось все хуже , да и мать начала плакать и умолять врачей о помощи… НО, на , что они решились под этим натиском-направить его почемуто в ТЕРАПЕВТИЧЕСКОЕ отделение. Где он в … УМЕР В ТЕЧЕНИИ ДВУХЧАСОВ!

Because of the efforts of the other patients and human attitude of the chief doctor N.S. Orishchak, the ORT patient ‘Lesha Vashchenkov’ was renewed into the ORT program. But his health was so weak that during the first day he could hardly walk and on the second day his mother brought him to the site. He had delusions and it was obvious that he had very serious health problems. The doctors from our site noticed this and sent him … to the second floor (narcology hospital). The narcology doctor examined him and … said that he needed urgent assistance of a surgeon! In 10 minutes he was in a surgeon’s office (the policlinic #1) is within 50 meters from the office. The surgeon urgently sent Vashchenkov Lesha to the Central Regional Hospital of Shostka.

But when doctors of the hospital learned that he is a drug addict they refused to do the surgery which they insisted on before!

Lesha was feeling worse and his mother started crying and begging the doctors to help, but they decided to send him for some reasons to the therapy department where he died within 2 hours.

The patients were sure that the main reasons of the death of his counterparts was stigma towards people living with the drug addiction from he medical personnel. They established the initiative group to attract the attention of the society to their problems and, as they wrote, “to stop the conveyor of deaths”.

1 comment

  • Olanike

    Lesha’s death makes the story a very sad one. While I would not want to trade blames about the real cause of his death, I have strong reservations about the his initial suspension from his health program. Considering the delicate nature of the therapy he was undergoing, he could have still be helped in a manner that will not deprive him of his medications and association with other patients. At the moment, I am beginning to wonder how humane it was to excommunicate someone who is a patient, a drug addict at that?

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