Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Doctor in Russia Sentenced to Prison After Killing Patient

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Jul 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

When a patient in the United States is harmed by a doctor's mistake, the legal system provides remedies for the injuries they have suffered. A patient can file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent doctor or hospital to recover damages for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Patients in other countries may be more limited in recovering damages for their injuries.

A doctor in Russia went beyond a medical mistake when he struck a patient in the head, causing his death. A nurse complained that a drunk patient had kicked her. 32-year-old Dr. Ilya Zelendinov's response was to punch the patient in the head. The 55-year-old patient was knocked to the concrete floor, hitting his head, causing severe brain injury that lead to the man's death. Dr. Zelendinov now faces charges of third-degree murder.

Doctors are held to a different standard of care than that of a “reasonable person,” in medical malpractice cases. It appears that Russian authorities also held Dr. Zelendinov to a higher standard of care. According to an Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin, “Having an advanced medical education and experience working as a doctor, Zelendinov surely knew about the potential consequences of a punch to the head.”

Initially, federal investigators were only going to charge Zelendinov with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a two-year prison sentence. Investigators claimed the doctor was standing up for the nurses. Some alleged authorities intended to cover-up the incident until security camera footage was released. After surveillance footage was shown on television, the investigation found reason to charge the doctor with the more serious third-degree murder charges.

According to an article in The Daily Mail, “Russian medics have long operated in a culture of secrecy, with patients having little recourse to compensation for medical errors.” For his part, Zelendinov paid the family of the dead man about $1,200 for funeral expenses.

The video of the December 29th incident at Belgorod's City Hospital No. 2 quickly made its way around the internet. The video shows the violent punch to the head. It also shows another man trying to defend the victim, who gets shoved, kicked, and punched multiple times by the doctor, before and after Zelendinov delivers the fatal punch.

Extended footage shows the police arriving, and hospital personnel trying to revive the victim with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). More doctors arrive to try and help the man before he is finally taken out of the hospital room. Zelendinov and the hospital's lead doctor were fired as a result of the incident. Zelendinov was sentenced to nine years in jail, and had his medical license suspended.

If you or a loved one has been injured or emotionally harmed as the result of a negligent doctor, the Gilman & Bedigian team of experienced attorneys is fully equipped to handle your claim. Our staff includes a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience. We focus on getting you compensation for your injuries so you can focus on getting better and moving forward with your life.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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