Dead weightlifter's mother: Son's medical records missing

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Young Belarusian weightlifter Yauhen Shramko died more than 6 months ago. It happened in the sport complex Staiki where top sportsmen get ready for the Olympic Games and world championships.

The young athlete was a healthy and promising sportsman; he never had any problems with passing medicals. The Ministry of Health has not managed to explain what happened to him so far.

The investigation of his death is still in process. Minsk District Investigation Committee has ordered one more complex expertise.

“We need to find out whether the death was caused by doctors’ actions,” Dzmitry Syarchenya, deputy chief of Minsk District Investigation Committee told Euroradio.

The Ministry of Health conducted an internal check-up. But the results were not made public.

Machulishchy police also conducted a hasty check-up after Yauhen Shramko’s death. Nothing suspicious was found and no criminal case was started.

Euroradio found Yauhen Shramko’s correspondence with a close friend back then. It turned out that the weightlifter was complaining about feeling bad, about his visit to a doctor and some strange pills leading to heavy sleep. (see here for the Internet correspondence)

Minsk District Office of the Public Prosecutor nullified the decision of Machulischy police. A new check-up was started.

Euroradio asked Minister of Health Vasil Zharko what a professional doctor should do when a sportsman complains about back ache and high pressure.

We received a letter from the Republican Sport Medicine Centre signed by deputy director Alyaksandr Chahouski. (DOCUMENT)

“We would also like to inform you that weightlifters have never complained about such health problems,” the documented summed up.

It means that Yauhen Shramko was joking in his letters written before death and there is nothing strange about his death.

Natallya, Yauhen’s mother, does not understand this attitude either:

“They told me that he had heart problems. Why didn’t they tell us about it after all the medicals he went through? Zhenya’s medical record testified that he was very healthy too. By the way, the record disappeared after his death. He went to take a blood test for his driving license in policlinic #22. Nothing was left there either. My son never complained about health problems. He always had normal blood pressure. I do not understand how it could happen. I keep thinking how he started recharging his cell phone, fell asleep… and never woke up. This is terrible.” 

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We do not want to offend our doctors in the article. But you do not have to be an expert to understand that the medical system failed in Yauhen Shramko’s case. It happened in the sport complex Staiki, a place dedicated to Belarusian sport. There is something to think about.

The young weightlifter’s death seems to be one of the alarming signals indicating the deteriorating state of Belarusian sports medicine. And there have been many of such signals recently.

The Republican sport medicine centre was moved to an old district policlinic in the summer of 2012. It was a step back for sports medicine. The “free room” that used to belong to the centre had to be turned into a hotel. But is hasn’t been done so far.

It turned out that some top Belarusian sportsmen did not even get … vitamins in 2013. They also make pharmacological programs for themselves although they are not qualified for it. Athletes Alina Talai and Nadzeya Astapchuk criticized the medical system.

Ex-Minister of Sport Yury Sivakou mentioned the difficult state of sports medicine. The doctors that should work in this sphere are not qualified enough to know what is better to put a sportsman back into shape quickly, he thinks.

At the same time, even schoolchildren understand that there can be no progress in professional sport without good doctors and pharmacologists.