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Siberian hospital praised as doctors save life of British tourist

By 0 and 0 and 0
06 March 2015


Derek Doy, 70, and his wife, Chris, 65, had been on a long-awaited trip to Russia when he suddenly fell ill within minutes of arriving at Novosibirsk train station. Picture: The Siberian Times

Doctors in Siberia are among the best in the world – that’s the view of a British tourist who owes his life to medical staff at a hospital in Novosibirsk.

Derek Doy, 70, and his wife, Chris, 65, had been on a long-awaited trip to Russia when he suddenly fell ill within minutes of arriving at Novosibirsk train station.

He was rushed to Railway clinical hospital where he was diagnosed with the early stages of a heart attack and sent for emergency surgery at the regional hospital.

The procedure was successful and he is now waiting for the all-clear to leave hospital before being able to return to the UK next week.

'It all happened so fast,' recalled Derek. “The service here was fantastic. At 5pm I came off the train and by 6.30pm I had been seen by the nurse and had been taken by the ambulance to the hospital.

'I did not have time to get frightened. I don't like needles and there were hundreds of them, but everything was done quickly so I had no chance to be scared. The next day I still thought that I'd be getting up from bed and going off to catch the train, but they told me that I was very ill. I remember going into the operating theatre, I was nervous, but I was not frightened. I remember looking at the clock and it was 12.22pm.' 

Derek Doy

Chris Doy

On this holiday they started in London before travelling through Belgium, Germany, and Poland then spending two nights and Moscow and three nights on the train to Novosibirsk. Picture: The Siberian Times

He continued: 'Everybody says that I’m lucky. But I am confident it is because of the doctors here. For the first four days I couldn't sleep and I just looked around. I have nothing but admiration for the hard work of everyone here. They worked here all night long, then they went home in the morning and came back in the afternoon. That's crazy! Their hard work and dedication is miraculous.

'Now I just want to go home. It depends on what doctors say. If I feel great and hopefully the doctors will say that I am great too.'

The couple, who live in Blackpool, England, and have four children between them from previous marriages, have been spending much of their time travelling since retiring from their jobs five years ago.

They have already enjoyed trips to China, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Canada, and the United States.

On this holiday they started in London before travelling through Belgium, Germany, and Poland then spending two nights and Moscow and three nights on the train to Novosibirsk.

Derek said: 'We have been wanting to come to Siberia for many years. I heard about it for the first time when I was 15.

'So we agreed to make the trip. I wanted to do it in the summer, just to see the beauty of Lake Baikal, but Chris said that we should go in winter, when it’s more typically Siberia. 

'We were disappointed that there was no snow in Moscow at all. Just rain, like our English weather. But when we got to Novosibirsk I walked on the train platform and thought, 'what wonderful snow'. Later as I lay in my hospital room the snow was falling and I missed it.'

As a result of the medical emergency, the couple have barely been able to see much of Siberia at all, although Chris has been befriended by a local woman.

Derek said: 'All of my impressions of Novosibirsk are the railway station and two hospitals – that’s all I've seen. We were on the train for three days and it was great just looking at the window. It was great to see the valleys and trees and the vastness of it all.'

Chris and Derek Doy

'We have been wanting to come to Siberia for many years. I heard about it for the first time when I was 15.' Picture: The Siberian Times

His wife added: 'I haven't seen that much of it, but it was quite surprising that Novosibirsk is such a big city. We did not realize that it is such a big city. I was quite impressed with it.

'Alesya, the head of the travel agency, took me to her home, so I have seen how she and her family lives. What else? The supermarket and the shopping mall. But what I can say is that everybody here is so helpful.'

Derek, who is originally from Yorkshire, said that next month they plan to continue their travels to the Panama Canal and then onto Los Angeles and Las Vegas. And, they hope to return to Russia next year to continue their short-lived trip in Siberia.

He said: 'In England we don't get snow like you get here. And you may not realize but Siberia is such a vast place. Do you know the size of England? I can drive a car for one day from one side to the other. How many days do you need in Russia? Twenty?'

Derek should be released from hospital on Saturday and he will stay at the city's Marriott hotel for a week before being allowed home, if given the all-clear by a British doctor.

Alesya Kornilovich, from the STA Travel agency, said the couple had been on the Golden Eagle luxury tourist train and it was the first time such a medical problem had occurred.

She said: 'It was the first time that such a serious emergency has happened. I tried to help them as much as I could by bringing them home-made food and now I’m solving issues with the insurance company and visa.

'I hope that next year Derek will feel better and come back to Novosibirsk.'

Comments (11)

Wonderful adventurous-story the Doys had, indeed! Hope I could visit Novosibirsk City late this year, myself...

Say, can anyone send me a list of hospitals in the City of Novosibirsk? Ya know, just in case I need to pay any of them an emergency visit while I'm there.

Email it to me at: Thank y'all.
B. A. Briggs, Indianapolis, USA
08/07/2020 10:33
Congratulations to medical staff in Novosibirsk.What a beautiful City! I am reading about Siberia every week.IT is a beautiful place! To change ideas about Siberian Cities my e-mail is
natercio silva, Guaratuba - Brazil
08/05/2017 11:17
We are so pleased to hear you are travelling back, If you wish we would be delighted to cover your meeting with the medical team that assisted you, please can you email us on

Have a safe journey!
The Siberian Times,
16/02/2016 22:59
Just to let you all know we are doing the trip again in a few days time, hopefully we will make it this time to Vladivostok!! Thank you for all the kind messages
Chris & Derek Doy, UK
16/02/2016 20:54
What a good news story. Hope Derek you are now fully recovered &'re from Yorkshire, where my favourite soccer team plays, Leeds United. 'Tis a pity, they are not quite as healthy as you are, in the Championship, that is. So stay well...when you get home...& well done to all the people who took such great care of you in Novosibirsk Hospital, the surgeon, doctors, nurses, etc.
Jaker, Dundalk
30/03/2015 23:05
0 Плацкарты нет?
Bill, Novosibirsk, Russia
12/03/2015 22:07
Such great news for Siberia ,will give older people the confidence of seeing the new tourist Mecca of the World ie the beauty the uniqueness , the picturesque of Siberia Patrick
Patrick Travers , Perth Western Australia
12/03/2015 12:37
Good to hear you have safely recovered and enjoyed the beauty of Siberia and the snow. Hopefully you will return. The training and education in Siberia is 'second-to-none'. My parents come from that part of the world and when it snowed in England they said that it was not 'real' snow but just wet mush. The snow in Siberia is 'dry' snow and is crunchy underfoot. I soon experienced what they meant and it was so refreshing and invigorating. All the best.
Valentyna, Perth, Scotland
08/03/2015 15:30
Good to see you looking so well. Great to meet you both on the Golden Eagle Train. Hope you have a safe journey home. I think completing the Lake Baikal marathon would be overdoing it a bit!!!!!!
Karen, Cornwall, UK
08/03/2015 07:48
BRAVO -keep it up-ts a proud moment for medicos--i feel proud of being educated in one of the leading medical universities of siberia --lublu rossiyuu
dr parray, dammam ksa
07/03/2015 20:50
Derek and Chris must go back next year in winter because it is a beautiful wonderland with the most amazing people and things to see. My husband and I have just returned from a trip to Lake Baikal after he took part in the Ice Marathon and I can only say WOW what beauty. Really an awesome experience for both of us.
Dee Hudson, Dubai
06/03/2015 19:43

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