“A bullet was taken out from the lung”.
People wounded during demonstrations described their experience.
Last week, the protest rallies were marked by unprecedented oppressions in the history of Belarus. Even those, who happened to be in the area of the rallies by accident or passing by, were affected. riot police threw stun grenades, fired rubber bullets, victims are still in hospitals. Doctors do not hide the fact that some of the wounded were lucky to survive — if the bullet had moved a few centimetres, the person could have died. TUT.BY visited Clinical hospital #10 in Minsk: three victims showed their injuries and told how they had been received.
The car was attacked, windows were broken, and a rubber bullet hit the left lung
Around 11 p.m. on August 11, one Minsk citizen together with his brother was driving past the subway station “Kamennaya Horka” in Minsk. They were turning left on Prytytski Street to go home by the highway, and saw a tinted blue minibus cutting them off on the left.
— Six or seven riot police officers ran out of the minibus and started breaking windows of the car right away, there was a strong blow to the back, it turned out to be a shot, — says the brother of the injured Minsk citizen. — We were pulled out of the car, thrown like wood beams into the minibus by layers. Our car was left on the road. In a few moments my brother felt sick, he said he was suffocating, we took him out of the minibus to the street. He had a pale face, a lost look, I started screaming that a doctor and an ambulance is needed, when one of the detainees in the van said he was a surgeon, he was pulled out and he examined my brother. He said that my brother might have a gunshot or shrapnel wound from broken glass.
The video shows a dark-colored minibus near a white car that belongs to the narrator. People wearing a kit are walking around and at some point they even shoot.
He notes that by pure chance a regular passenger car with volunteer doctors who were helping the wounded were passing by.
— Before the ambulance arrived, these paramedics put in an IV drip and applied a bandage on my brother. The ambulance arrived within 5–10 minutes and he was taken to hospital.
A rubber bullet was taken out of the young man’s left lung.
— “Doctors said that the bullet could have hit the heart, there was a short distance to it,” said the victim’s brother.
The doctor who performed surgery on the young man said that it lasted an hour and a half to two hours.
— One patient has a wound in his lung caused by a rubber bullet. There was no bleeding at the time of the injury, but there was a contusion of the lung near the wound. We’ve removed the drains from the wound, everything’s healing now, the bruise is resolving. I think there should be no consequences in the future. I’ve never seen such wounds in my practice before, and it’s wrong that in peacetime people get such injuries,” doctor says.
The bullet was taken out of the neck, a little more — and it could have hit the carotid artery.
Mikhail Malashchenko is 30 years old, he is a 5th year student at Belorussian National Technical University. He worked before entering the University that is why he is about to graduate at that age. On August 9th near the stela “Minsk gorod-geroy” he received a gunshot wound to the neck with an orange plastic bullet and got a burn. If the bullet had hit five centimeters to the right or left to the neck, the man could have died because of the carotid artery hit.
— I was injured on August 9th close to stela “Minsk gorod-geroy”. It was around 11:20–11:30 p.m. The shooting was heard further down the street, but riot police did not take any action against us at first: they were standing nearby, sometimes coming up and off ten steps. It was the first day of the protest rallies and no one expected such tough oppressions. But suddenly the law enforcers started throwing light-noise grenades at us, and I covered my ears, because everything around was thundering, and began to move backwards. At that moment I got wounded, but I didn’t immediately realize that I got a hit in the neck, for some reason it seemed to me that it was not in the neck, but a little lower. As I was walking away, my breath was tight, I started to run out of the smoke, running away 20–25 meters, turned to the first person I met, he was terrified, told me to hold my neck firmly and he ran away to search for an ambulance. There were a number of riot police with shields and batons all over the avenue, and they started to drive me away with batons so that I would move away and they wouldn’t let me go to the ambulance. But one of them figured it out and helped me out, he ran out and covered me from his colleagues and then told me: “Go ahead, go ahead.” I squeezed in and just 30 seconds later I was at the ambulance.
An individual ambulance team was called for the man, his wound was bandaged up, on the first examination doctors assumed it was a burn. But when Mikhail was taken to hospital #10, it turned out that there was a bullet in his neck. According to Mikhail the bullet was orange and made from plastic.
— Though the trauma is quite serious I’ve had almost no pain for the whole week. When the doctors started to remove the bullet during the surgery, they were very surprised. As I understand it was the first case of a kind in their practice. My neck is healing now, on Friday during bandaging doctors thought the wound bubbleed a little, they assumed that I had air coming out of my trachea but they did a bronchoscopy and it turned out to be a tracheal bruise.
Grenade fragment broke through my left side and my mouth was bleeding.
Our third interviewee asked not to announce his name and surname. He is 37 years old and he works as an electrician. On August 10th in the area of subway station “Pushkinskaya” his left side was hit with a fragment of a stun grenade. When he was running away from the fire, he was shot in the back with rubber bullets.
— At one moment near subway station “Pushkinskaya” riot police officers began to throw stun grenades at people and started to shoot them with rubber bullets. My left side was hit by a fragment of a grenade. I fell down, a fountain of blood poured out of my mouth, there was a very strong contusion of the lung, and every breath was accompanied by blood. A girl and a guy took me to a cafe near Aurora cinema. At that moment I already asked people to videotape my message to my parents because I thought I had given my soul to God. There was blood coming out of my mouth as a fountain. When guys took me out of the shooting area, they screamed that there was a wounded man. Riot police officers with guns came to me and led me to the grass. An ambulance drove over there and took me to the hospital, where they started to sew the wound up right away.
This is how the wound looked when the sutures were removed on Sunday. Photo provided by the narrator.
The man says that on Sunday he had two bandages changed and he asked to open the wound completely because it was very painful. After the wound was opened the pain decreased. He still has a hard time coughing and sneezing and he coughs up blood.
The man says when he was running away, he was shot in the back with rubber bullets.