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Russian shock at 'gagged' babies
Russian prosecutors are investigating allegations that hospital
staff in Yekaterinburg gagged babies because they did not want
to hear them crying.
The patient at the hospital in the southern Urals who reported
the case heard the children's muffled cries.
She used her mobile phone to film a baby lying in a cot with his
mouth taped, while others had dummies taped to their mouths.
They are all orphans.
The case, covered widely by Russian media, has caused deep
Russians are used to scandals in the hospital, but this case has
touched a raw nerve, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow.
The patient who reported the incident, Elena Kuritsyna, had been
in the hospital with her own children.
She said she heard the suppressed crying of young children in
the next ward.
"I heard that a baby was mumbling in a neighbouring room; when I
looked in, I saw the baby with plaster over his mouth; he could
not cry or do anything, was just mumbling," she told Reuters
She approached the nurse in the ward and was initially told to
mind her own business. Children were crying too loudly, and
distracting nurses from their work, she was told.
persuaded the nurse to remove the plaster, but she says that
afterwards the nurse did it again.
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The nurse has been suspended and on Wednesday the head doctor at
the hospital was reprimanded.
Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation, and say they
have discovered that sticking plaster was used more than once.
"Children in the first year of life were systematically gagged
with sticking plaster to make children behave quietly," the
prosecutors' press service said.
It is alleged the babies were silenced because there were too few
staff to deal with them.