Dmitry Vasilets: Medicine in a Ukrainian Jail

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


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Hi friends, today I will write about something most important not only in prison – about health. In prison, medical care is an abstract and very tensile concept. There is a need to understand that if you fall ill with something serious, you won’t be helped, and you will be transferred to a normal hospital only when it becomes clear in how many days you will die. If in prison there is a regular doctor who is a surgeon, cardiologist, a otorhinolaryngology specialist, an oculist, and a neurologist – in general everything in one person, it is still good, usually there is simply no doctor, or there are nurses, whose main skills are to take temperature with pressure and to be sincerely compassionate.

Concerning medicines, the situation is in general epic, in the first-aid station of course there is nothing except Zelenka [a bright green antiseptic ink – ed] and analgin, and it is impossible to transfer medicines from the outside the jail directly, only through the first-aid station, which must make sure that it is medicine and you actually need it in general. Generally, if something aches, and you were lucky that the local “paramedic” determined what medicine you need, and as in prison it is forbidden and impossible to call someone, you wait for the court hearing for about a month to say to your lawyer what medicine you need, so that they, in turn, report about this to your relatives (if you are lucky and you have relatives) so that they, in turn, buy it and transfer it to prison in a parcel, a further first-aid station will make sure that it is precisely this medicine that you need. As a result, the medicine reaches the patient, at best, two months later. During two months, if something aches, you just need to suffer, to swallow every day analgin, and to listen to the professional condolences of nurses.

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That’s why the most important thing is to protect your health because if you fall ill with something serious, you are done for. In many respects it is because of this that I go for a walk, I play sports, I survey my food allowance, the motivation to survive is a very strong motivation. Yes, for people who are ill or who have some disease, prison is HELL and torture. That’s why ill people don’t live here for long. Such is “natural selection”, on the way to a “European state” and international standards of humanity.

And don’t give this to the ombudsman at the Verkhovna Rada on human rights to read, because again they will send their professional condoling representatives. Anyway, they serve no purpose.

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