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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rat Attacks Babies in Children's Hospital

Drastically improving the country's decrepit health care services was one of the four so-called "National Projects" spearheaded by Dmitry Medvedev before he received Vladimir Putin's blessing in December 2007 to become Russia's next president.
 
The National Projects gave Medvedev a populist platform to improve his national visibility as First Deputy Prime Minister, and in the run-up to the March 2008 presidential election, there was no shortage of fawning reports on state-controlled television showing Putin's handpicked successor visiting brand spanking new medical facilities throughout the country.
 
Ward No. 2 at the Serpukhov Children's Hospital in the Moscow region town of Serpukhov was, presumably, not one of the places Medvedev visited.
 
It was here, after all, that two babies last week received numerous wounds after being attacked by a rat running amok in their hospital room, the Investigative Committee said in a statement Friday.
 
Eight-month-old Alexandra and 1-year-old Anastasia were both being treated for serious neurological disorders in the clinic in Serpukhov, a town 100 kilometers south of Moscow.
 
At around 4 p.m. on Jan. 28, the two infant girls were attacked by a rat in their room, investigators said. Alexandra suffered bite wounds on her nose and both hands, while Anastasia was bitten on both arms. Neither was seriously injured.
  
The incident happened "as a result of the careless attitude of the hospital's management toward its immediate responsibilities to maintain sanitary and hygienic norms and supervise the children," the Investigative Committee alleged in the statement.
 
Prosecutors have classified the incident as a case of negligence, punishable by a fine of up to 120,000 rubles ($3,300) or three months in jail.
 
The ward where the infants were staying was essentially reserved for babies whose parents had given them up, while children with parents had long moved their offspring from the wing, state-run Channel One television reported.
 
Local child welfare officer Sofia Tulkina told Channel One that it took two hours after the attack for police, doctors and veterinarians to catch the rat.
 
"We were all scared," Tulkina said. "The rat was acting so aggressively."
 
In a less-than-comforting detail provided by Channel One, the network cited doctors at the hospital as saying that while the building was in dangerously decrepit condition, they had never seen rats there before.