Skip to comments.Poisonings at Chechen School Investigated
Posted on 01/13/2006 8:44:09 PM PST by struwwelpeter
The preliminary documents concerning the mass poisoning in Chechnya have been confiscated, and physicians are compelled to choose between the Hippocratic Oath and a non-disclosure agreement.
Throughout December there were reports of mass poisonings at schools in the Chechen region of Shelkovsk. Just before the New Year's holidays, a government commission which was created in order to 'determine the causes and liquidate the results' of the events there published its official verdict: no need to worry, there were no poisonings, but a mass psychosis due to many years of stress which, members of the commission assured us, was whipped up by the media who simply paid too much attention to the victims' fits
Novaya Gazeta decided find out if anyone in Chechnya believed these explanations, and what really happened, according to the victims themselves.
On a cot by the wall in room ¹ 1 of Shelkovsk regional hospital writhes a young girl. She is having a seizure. Her face is alternately white, then yellow, then bright red. Respiration is unnoticeable. Her brother unclenches her teeth with a spoon in order to pull out her lolling tongue, while her mother piles her whole body on top of her to control the spasms. The girl is now bent in an impossible arc - her heels touch the back of her head, almost as if she were a professional gymnast.
"Sina! Sina!" shout her mother and brother, but there is no reaction. The girl sees nothing and hears nothing. Her eyes are closed. Is she even breathing? Only God knows. The mothers of a poisoning victim on the nearby cot slaps her cheeks forcefully. Aset (Sina) has had so much ammonium chloride poured under her nose that the room reeks, but she does not react. An invisible force twists her, and then lets go. But a few minutes later, and it all repeats once again.
"Before December, had she any kind of fits? Or epilepsy?"
"No. She was completely healthy," yells Aset's mother, Melizha.
The room has quieted down. Is she dying? It is January 6th on the calendar, a third week has gone by, and there is no improvement in the girl's condition. Aset Magamshapieva is 20 years old. She does not attend School ¹ 2 at Shelkovsk Station, where the majority of the victims came from. She is a student at the teacher's college and was at the school for her practicum. It came down to this: everyone who was there got 'something'. Only, what?
An elderly nurse arrives with a syringe. The fit has lasted 15 minutes already. The nurse is alone on the floor, taking care of 40 patients, and had only just got through with Marina Tereshchenko in a neighboring room. Marina had been suffering from the very same type of seizure.
"What is in the syringe?"
"Analgin and Dimedrol," she sighs heavily, as if understanding it all.
"But that really can't help, can it?"
"We don't have anything else," she answers. "What can we treat them with? Analgin will at least take the pain away from the spasms, and Dimedrol will quiet them down, let them sleep after the fits "
Rabadan Ahmethanovich Rabadanov, deputy chief of therapeutics, arrives. He looks on the sick girl sadly. Everyone piles onto the patient. A soporific is introduced into a vein, and soon tears start to flow down Aset's cheeks.
It is the 47th minute of the seizure. Though the girl sees and hears no one, it is evident that she starts to breathe, and her mother says:
"Well, now it'll be better. Cry! Tears mean that the seizure is passing."
"How often does such a fit occur?
"Three to four times a day. Look for yourself how can you fake these? We almost broke her teeth to keep her from swallowing her tongue. I'm in such torment, and she's just exhausted by all the fits I don't know what'll be next. If they could just find out what they were poisoned with, even if they didn't tell anyone, they wouldn't have to - just tell us how to treat it How long are they going to keep this up?
Vaha Dardayevich Ehselayev, chief physician of Shelkovsk hospital, is sitting in his little office, which is furnished only with a sad calico couch and little table. He repeats:
"We are the doctors who were with these victims from the first days until the present, and we will not change our diagnosis - an intoxication of unknown etiology. Because we have seen how it all was. And we can see how it is right now. How could it be hysterics, or mass psychosis?"
A tired Rabadanov enters. Together with Dr. Jamilya Halilovna Aliyeva, on December 16th he was called to Starogladovsk Station, to the school. People had called to report that their children were collapsing into unconsciousness.
"Every child had psycho-motor excitation, hallucinations, and some kind of strange laughter," Dr. Rabadanov remembers. "Severe spasms. One teacher was completely cyanotic from suffocation. Nothing seemed to help. We gave sedatives, and anti-convulsives. Nothing worked, the spasms just kept repeating. The parents threw themselves on us, it almost was a fight. We were helpless. I am certain that such a number of children could never enter a state of psycho-motor excitation simply from hysterics. It was some kind of agent (A term used to designate any substance which can cause poisoning - Editor). Understand, that if these were merely hysterical fits, as the commission says (he means the government commission investigating the events at Shelkovsk. - A.P.) , then they would be easy to isolate.
Vaha Ehselayev interrupts:
"I think, that if this was a mass psychosis spread by rumors and the media, then the first to react would have been the more than 80 schizophrenics and as many epileptics we have in our region. But they had no such reaction. We checked. I believe that there is a poisonous agent in the schools from which the victims came. But the political situation is such that it has to be denied. We don't know what the agent was. We don't have the resources to find out."
"We don't know. A dead end."
"What are you treating?"
"Only symptomatically. If there are spasms we give an anti-convulsive. If there is pain we give an analgesic. And so on. But the fits continue, nonetheless. We have requested and continue to request: give us some kind of a treatment paradigm! But no one hurries to us with any. The commissions from Moscow and Groznyy were here and told the patients: 'Don't fake.' How can this be? We were alone with them. Only we understand that the agent acting on them is some kind of a toxic substance which makes the nervous system hyper-sensitive. The fits can be summoned by the creak of a door, or the rustle of a packet. This doesn't fit any known disease picture, and requires investigation
Awaiting an investigation and a treatment paradigm are the physicians at the Shelkovsk regional hospital. But the relatives of the victims, just like the majority of the Shelkovsk region's inhabitants, are sure that the source of the infection was the women's restroom in the Starogladovsk school. All the victims at one time or another were there. Moreover, the following trend was noted: whoever went to the bathroom had the most serious symptoms, while those who were nearby had fewer. The physicians insist that it is a toxic substance, most likely a solid, but capable of propagation in a gas wave, though losing its potency in direct proportion to the distance from the source.
The same picture is repeated in the Shelkovsk and Shelkozavodsk schools. Those who were near the women's restroom fell ill, though not as seriously.
Laying in the cot next to Aset Magamshapieva is Yesita Belalova, a housewife and mother of three. She lives in Starogladovsk in a house next to the school. While unconscious children were being carried out, Yesita grabbed her oldest daughter, a five year old, and ran for help. She walked around the school. Since December 21st Yesita has had seizures, which are repeated 3-4 times a day, while her daughter, who was with her in the school, vomited black mucous continuously for days, but did not come down with the seizures and was able to go home.
The localization of the sick people by school, time, and place is the determining detail in this picture of a massive disease outbreak. At Shelkozavodsk, for example, only those who were on the school building's first floor became ill. Teenage girls and teachers, who were in the first and second lessons. Those who did not come to school that day are still healthy. Now no one wants to send their healthy children to the poisoned school - they are waiting for complete detoxification of the premises.
While we are talking in Vaha Ehselayeva's tiny office, Marina Tereshchenko shows up. She is 21. She does not speak so much as wheeze. She is not down with a cold, but her throat is raw from her cries, so painful are Marina's head and muscles during the seizures.
"How many seizures a day?"
"Four to five. Many here don't believe that they'll ever be cured. And I don't believe it, either. I have no more strength for these fits. I don't know what's going on with me. Help me understand "
But it turns out that even with an abundance of commissions, brigades, and investigators, no one receives any help. Political and military expediency has conquered everything. Judge for yourself.
Let us recall the chronology of December, which is indicative of the events: just as they were ordered to investigate and find a solution to the situation, and after finding answers to some of the questions, the commission suddenly started to obscure the real picture (and in doing so, sentence the victims to a continuation of their sufferings).
Everything began on December 7th, with 13 year-old Taisa Minkailova, a student at the 'new school' (as it called, since there is an 'old school') in Starogladovsk (about 20 km from the regional center of Shelkovsk). Taisa complained of attacks of asphyxia, spasms, a severe headache, and numbness in her extremities. Her parents decided to take her to the hospital in Kizlyar, in Dagestan, but the treatments prescribed by the neurologist there had no effect. The symptoms remained, only the condition deteriorated.
December 9th, two high school seniors from the same Starogladovsk school are brought into Groznyys city hospital number 9 by their parents, suffering from the same symptoms. They are Zareta Sharanova, born in 1993, and Leyla Dibirova, born in 1992. (Note: due to the unstable political and military situation in the region, many children have missed several years of school.)
The peak of mass hospitalizations arrived on December 16th, when 19 children and 3 adults from Starogladovsk (the same school doctors Rabadanov and Aliyeva were called to) were taken to the Shelkovsk regional hospital straight from school. The physicians observed multiple cases of unconsciousness, comatose states, seizures, weakness, amnesia, and asphyxia of increasing severity, as well as 'stocking' and 'glove' numbness of the extremities, and chills. The children complained about sharp pains in their eyes and dry mucous membranes. Blood analyses showed lowered hemoglobin (down to 76) and an increase in segmented neutrophils (to 89). It was clear that it was a poisoning, and the source was the school.
As a result, a government commission was created in Chechnya on December 16th, and its staff was to localize and liquidate the results of the mass disease outbreak. Assigned as its chairman was V. Boriskina, the Chechen president's deputy chief of staff. Respected people served as members of the commission: Z. Musluyev, deputy minister of public health for the Chechen Republic, A. K. Hamadov, managing director of the Chechen Republic's center for medicine and epidemiology, A. Jeyrhanov. first deputy chief of the Chechen Republic's ministry of emergency situations, Professor G. Prostakishin, head of the 'Zashchita' all-Russia center of emergency medicine, Z. Kekelidze, deputy director of the state scientific center of forensic psychiatry, U. Ahyadov, director of the Chechen directorate for emergency medicine, and M. Dalsayev, chief physician of the republic's drug and alcohol treatment center. There appeared military specialists from Mobile Lab ¹ 1309, from the epidemic surveillance center of the ministry of defense, Russian Federation (military toxicology), a group of chemical defense officers, and someone from the scientific research institute, all led by V. Rembovsky of the institute of hygiene and occupational pathology and ecology, Russian Ministry of Health. Medicines were offered by the International Red Cross and 'Doctors without Borders'.
On December 17th, the commission members and military officers left for Shelkovsk in order to carry out an inspection and question people from the schools and regional hospital. They also stopped in Groznyy to visit the most severely ill, those at city hospital #9 (teachers) and at the republic's pediatric clinical hospital (school children).
And then, the turning point - on the commission chairman's table appeared a memorandum from the senior specialist physician of Mobile Military Laboratory ¹ 1309, S. Yefimov, captain of the medical service. These were the results from the trips to Starogladovsk and Shelkovsk. This document was unique, because in only two days bureaucratic investigators would remove it from circulation, and it would be nowhere to be found. Miraculously, we obtained a copy of the captain's report. Here it is:
"I, senior physician-specialist of mobile lab 1309 TsGSEhN (t) SKVO Captain (Med Svc) Yefimov S. N. on December 17th, 2005, as part of a government commission of the Chechen Republic, during questioning and examination of the victims the following picture of the development of the poisoning was discovered The source of the poisoning was located in the main school building (since the given group of victims was comprised exclusively of those who were there), presumably on the 3rd floor (where the ill teachers were working). The primary route of intoxication could be the respiratory tract, though direct contact is not ruled out. The aggregate state of the toxic substance was probably a liquid or solid, which under the effects of the environment could separate into poisonous vapors. It is not possible to accurately determine the form of the toxic substance from only one clinical picture (the victims symptomology). RECOMMENDED: in order to clarify what the toxic substance was, conduct toxicological testing of the victims and have this examined by toxicology specialists with the necessary equipment and reagents."
The commission began to work backwards from the captain's report. Yes, toxicologists continued to work. They saw everything, but persistently found nothing. And everything has remained this way to the present: only two official versions of the poisoning remain 'among the living'.
First, Captain Yefimov's report. Second, extracts from the medical records of Zareta Sharanova, who was taken from the hospital before the official diagnosis was made. Her records state: 'poisoning of unknown etiology'.
After December 17th, the commission took an abrupt change of direction, to a psychological-psychiatric diagnosis, disregarding the fact that proofs of poisoning continued to arrive. First of all, on December 19th, when similar patients were brought in from the middle schools of the villages of Kobi, Shelkozavodsk, and Shelkovsk. Up to 17 cases of asphyxia were observed then. Several were extreme, and comatose. On December 20th all the schools in the Shelkovsk region were closed and the republic's attorney general initiated a criminal investigation due to this mass poisoning of schoolchildren.
Nevertheless, on December 21st, there were suddenly official reports that 'the media is guilty of it all': the seizures allegedly increased, and new cases would show up, in proportion to the number of broadcasts on the subject. The members of the commission declared that there were no toxic substances which could strike only one sex, and ridiculed the stories of OBs (tampons) which could have been tossed in the women's toilets.
"But if everything is just a mass psychological reaction, this means that these children and adults must be, so to speak, 'psychologically infectious'?" I asked the head physician at the republic children's clinical hospital, Sultan Alimhajiyev, who coincidentally is the deputy minister of pediatric public health for the Republic of Chechnya.
"No," the head physician and deputy minister answered. "At the moment of the mass seizures, we had 310 children in the hospital for treatment, but the children from the Shelkovsk region did not infect them psychologically."
"Then why this story on television that they are considered 'infectious'?"
The doctor kept silent. His eyes were not visible. The power had gone out in the hospital, and there were no emergency lights.
And here, on December 22nd the chief narcologist of the Chechen Republic, psychiatrist Musa Dalsayev declared his diagnosis: there was no poisoning, it was a 'pseudo-asthmatic syndrome of a psychogenic nature'. Or a 'psychological self-infection'. Musa Dalsayev assembled the parents and actually accused the sick children of faking it all, and their mothers of indulging them.
"My sister and I were in the hospital," said 9 year-old fourth grader Tamerlan Kisabiyev of Shelkozavodsk. "A doctor came from Moscow and said to Aminatka: 'Why are you pretending? You don't like school?', but Aminatka is a straight-A student. She started to cry, she was so hurt by this Our parents took us home."
But Musa Dalsayev stands by his words: the fits are just for show, if there are no spectators, then the seizures cease. He is very dissatisfied with the victims' mothers. He calls them 'renters' - mercenaries who try to prolong their children's diseases to get compensation. (There is nowhere, in any government office, a single request from a family of one of the victims asking for any kind of material assistance. I have verified this myself - A. P.)
"The mothers induce these fits in their daughters," said Musa Dalsayev ever more rigidly.
"But how did this all begin? Mothers can't force their daughters to choke, when hasn't this been on TV?"
"Perhaps some substance dripped onto one or two of them, but then it was a different mechanism."
"But something did drip! What was the substance? Where did it come from?"
"That's not important," parried the chief narcologist, "but then rumors started flying, plus the doctors' confusion, all this got shown on TV, and then there were masses of new cases. This is a familiar picture in worldwide practice, only we have such doctors who are illiterate in psychiatry.".
Naturally, illiterates. At the Shelkovsk hospital there is not a single computer and no internet; none of the physicians who encountered this unprecedented phenomenon could shout an SOS into the worldwide network.
Thus, on December 23rd, another disease spike. Eighty-one cases with similar symptoms were recorded. Panic began in the Shelkovsk region. No one believed Dalsayev or the commission which had given its conclusions :< br> "1. No evidence of chemical poisoning. 2. No potentially dangerous objects were located on the premises of the pre-school and general school establishments. 3. Final diagnosis: 'Dissociative (conversional) disorders - dissociative disorders of movement and sensation, dissociative disorders of motor activity, dissociative spasms'. 4. The commission has come to the conclusion that there was an outbreak of mass hysteria in the Shelkovsk region related to the prolonged emergency situation in the Chechen Republic, which influences both the physical and mental health of the population. 5. On the basis of what was presented, it is necessary to quickly resolve the mental health of the population."
The 'correct' cause of the disease, from now on, was to be considered 'high psycho-emotional stress due to the situation in the republic', which brought on 'conversion seizures'. But the people would not believe.
So the commission lived the usual bureaucratic life. What was needed were demands on the federal budget for building psychological rehabilitation, psycho-neurological, and drug and alcohol treatment centers in Chechnya. These are undoubtedly very important and necessary institutions, but what about those who were poisoned in Shelkovsk? They get Analgin and Dimedrol.
On December 25th they started to discharge the first poisoning victims. On the 26th, the nation's chief public health physician, Gennady Onishchenko, visited Chechnya and finally slammed the brakes on the tragedy. After sitting for a few hours in Groznyy he declared that would 'publicly eat the hen': there were no alarming or health-threatening phenomena. On December 27th, President Alu Alhanov confirmed this success by traveling to President Putin in Moscow and reporting that it was all a mass psychosis, and then giving him reports on how much money would be needed in the short-term for a grandiose building to overcome any new mass psychoses. On the 31st, a group of 17 children and 3 adults - the most seriously ill - were sent out of sight to the Salyut children's sanitarium in Zheleznovodsk. On January 4th, in view of the gravity of the situation, they were gradually transported to clinics of the Stavropol medical academy, where they are under the observation of Professor Igor Boyev, chairman of the department of psychotherapy.
Others are not so lucky. There is not enough room for the rest. Those such as Aset Magamshapieva and Marina Tereshchenko are sidelined, since they are unable to be discharged 'correctly'. They are discarded. They are ordered forgotten.
Anna Politkovskaya, commentator for Novaya Gazeta, Chechnya
In our next edition the continuation of Novaya Gazeta's investigation:
In September and October of 2005 there was a similar mass poisoning of children in the Shelkovsk region. With the same symptoms.
In Stariye Atagi: the secret of the silvery-violet smoke. What did explode on the outskirts of the village?
What the chief sanitarian of Russia reported.
Mass psychosis. It is possible, but not in this case. The opinions of experts, eyewitnesses, and practicing physicians.
January 12th, 2006
PING! You've got to read this.
IIRC, the action of agent BZ [quinuclidin-3-ol benzylate] sounds similar. But then, I might be wrong.
The Israelis have shown that jihadists like to toss together concoctions including everything they can find, so one cannot rule out that its a whole bunch of various toxic agents - perhaps arsenic (bloody vomiting), strychnine (for convulsions), and a whole lot of various junk. Or there could be a 'Love Canal' in the neighborhood. What I've seen of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan could qualify as a toxic waste dump ;-)
I've got no expertise to even hazard a guess, but I'm not buying the mass hysteria explanation. The symptoms are simply too severe. I trust you'll keep us informed.
This scares me to death, knowing at what rate the Checnyans have infiltrated both Iraq and Al Qaeda and that so many people could be so in danger.... and we not know.
There was a FBI seizure of mislabeled bread I recently pinged you to that could have gotten many sick or even died.
There were the MREs in Texas.
There was a school in Middlesex County NJ where students were sick from the school lunches (no, no follow up story)
And the baby milk in Israel.
I'm sure there are others I can't think of off hand.
I guess I've made you a food ping.
Oh wait, the Diamond Pet food.
I made phone calls to the USDA, their corporate attorney, Mark Brinkman, and the FDA on that. The poisoning was from the corn supplement and not the Gaston facility.
In my thread link I even posted about the private label sales.
I had phone calls from people that had pets die on store brands.
No idea if it was from private label sales or the tainted corn supplement that was purchased though.
No problem. I'm about off to bed myself.
The jihadis would be dusting not in Chechnya, but rather in the areas outside of it. And as for the Love Canal situations, again - why there? - there are too many crapped up sites outside of the conflict area, and more heavily crapped up, too. Thus one would expect it to be happening there first.
Thank you for posting this, I had been following it at Promed, the last that I saw, it was said that they were poisoned by the poly ?, the ingredient in the Anti-Freeze we put in our car radiators.
I have read your post only once and quickly, but what I get, is the the Chechens are mentally ill and mother russia will see to it.
Am I correct, in that those are only the good russians on the panel that decided that nothing was wrong.
How do the symptoms here, tie in to what was used in the
Russian Theater murders? Are they the same?
Has Svni read this?
Now, if only I had as many answers as I do questions.
What is going on? Why poison the school children? it also happens a lot in China, but they always blame the cook and say it was rat poison in the children's soup.
China, Russian schools and remember the milk in Indonesia?
I remember asking my friends Indonesian wife about it, she said only that milk for kids to drink in the lower class schools was not as common there as it is here in America.
Antifreeze contains Ethylene Glycol, and poisoning with this generally results in kidney failure. Anti-freeze and Methanol poisonings are common in Russia and its satellites, so I'm positive that most physicians there know what it looks like and how to treat it.
...is the the Chechens are mentally ill and mother russia will see to it.
Anna Politkovskaya was being very tongue in cheek about the mental health aspect. If years of guerilla warfare were responsible for mass hysteria, Vietnam would be the psycho HQ of the world.
...those are only the good russians on the panel that decided that nothing was wrong.
The autopsies for the Nord-Ost victims had dozens of pages of pontifications by 'world reknowned' Russian pathologists and histologists.
How do the symptoms here, tie in to what was used in the Russian Theater murders? Are they the same?
The Moscow health dept pathologists and their colleagues on the commission that re-investigated it decided that the Nord-Ost victims who died were suffering from dehydration, hypoglycemia, uncomfortable sitting positions, and previously-present disease conditions. The 3 I translated were dying of meningitis, failing livers, and severe arteriosclerosis while watching the play, and the gas was merely coincidental.
Has Svni read this?
She sent me the link and asked me to translate it and post it ;-)
Why poison the school children?
I don't know what's going on here. Beslan demonstrated that Jihadists are capable of any atrocity and prefer to attack the weak and vulnerable.
Then again, a few kids could have gotten into some nasty chemicals at the local dump/playground, and everyone else jumped on the psychosomatic/I-need-disability bandwagon.
Dear God, those poor children.