Tragic death of mentally handicapped man after he is left at bus stop for 12 hours in minus 30C cold.
Doctors said they would have to amputate both wrists, because he was so badly frostbitten. Picture: GTRK Altai
For years mother Tatiana Sedukhinskaya cared for her son Vitaliy, 29, with endless love, as only a mother can. Often it was not easy for he was mentally handicapped and almost totally mute.
On 10 December 2012, she took him out in their home city Barnaul to get the medicines doctors prescribed for him.
'We were just going to take a bus to get home. We only needed to go several stops along Lenin Prospekt, which is the only route all the buses take, so it didn't matter which bus to take', said Tatiana.
'It was cold, we saw the bus coming, my son went towards it - and I simply was not quick enough. I walk with a stick, and can't go fast enough - so Vitaliy got inside, and the driver simply shut the doors in front of me and went'.
We can only guess the fear Vitaliy felt in the bus alone, without his mother, confused and unable to communicate.
'The worst thing was that I didn't see what route it was - I only remembered that it was a blue coloured bus', said Tatiana.
'I took the next minibus that came, and begged the driver to catch up with the bus where my son was - but we failed.
'I was hoping that my son would recognise the right stop near our home and would get off - but when I got there he was nowhere to be seen.'
She called the police, desperately worried about her son who had never travelled alone before.
'It was 5 pm when I got to police station and wrote a statement asking them to search for my son. Then my relatives arrived with a car, and we started to search for him ourselves, but again we couldn't see him'.
All the time, Vitaliy was standing in the appalling cold by the last bus stop on the route, as she found out later.
'The conductor and driver got him out and left. It is still not clear why no-one came to help: perhaps they thought he was drunk, perhaps they didn't want to bother? But the result of it was that he stood at the bus stop for 12 hours', she said.
Eventually at 3.40am a woman called the police to report the man standing helpless at the bus stop.
'The ambulance took him to the hospital. The doctors said they would have to amputate both wrists, because he was so badly frostbitten. He can't speak properly, but he still can make sounds showing that he is distressed. When I saw him at the hospital, I asked him if he got scared, and he said yes he did.
'I know that when it happens he starts making noises like 'Mama, mama!' I simply can't believe that no-one in that bus heard him saying this. How on earth could they ignore it? I've got no idea.
Both his wrists were amputated on 27 December - but friends of the family, horrified at what happened to Vitaliy, raised 900,000 roubles ($29,700) so that he could have artificial hands. It was a week after the amputation that Vitaliy's fever began. Then early in the morning on 8 January, a blood clot formed and he died. His mother is so struck with grief she is not talking to anyone.
Raisa Fedorova, Chief of Altai Branch of Russian Children's Fund, which helped to raise the money for Vitaliy, said: 'We knew Vitaliy and his family for more than ten years.
'He was always with us at all the events we arrange. He was always happy like a child to take part in them.
'We did all we could to help him and his mother by raising the money for medical care'.
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