Ventilator model sent to US started fire in Russian hospital, killing multiple patients: reports

Ventilator model sent to US started fire in Russian hospital, killing multiple patients: reports
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An artificial lung ventilator started a fire that killed five patients in a St. Petersburg hospital on Tuesday, leading Russian authorities to vow to investigate the product's safety, according to news reports.

The ventilator was being used to treat 20 COVID-19 patients in the intensive care ward of Saint George hospital, a source told the TASS news agency, according to Reuters and Bloomberg News. The hospital has reportedly temporarily stopped using Aventa-M ventilators.

The incident followed another fire that killed one person Saturday in a Moscow hospital that was treating COVID-19 patients.

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A law enforcement source told TASS that a ventilator sparked Saturday’s fire, as well, and that both ventilators were developed in the same factory in the Ural region. 

The Russian agency that monitors health care, Roszdravnadzor, said it would evaluate the quality and safety of ventilators at the two hospitals, the RIA news agency reported, according to Reuters. 

Russia has been reportedly well-stocked in ventilators and has boosted domestic manufacturing, but data and experts have said the ventilators outside the cities are old. TASS reported the ventilator that caught fire in St. Petersburg Tuesday was installed this month. Saint George hospital reportedly spent $6 million last month on more than 200 of these ventilators that were produced this year, TASS reported.

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHow conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide Trump administration praises UK sanctions on human rights abusers The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court's unanimous decision on the Electoral College MORE reportedly included the Aventa-M ventilators in question in a shipment to New York last month, Bloomberg News reported.

Russia billed the U.S. $660,000 for a shipment of medical aid last month that included 45 ventilators that were not immediately usable due to voltage-related issues, two unidentified U.S. officials told ABC News earlier this month.

The U.S. sanctioned the company that produced the ventilators, KRET, in 2014. KRET said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News that official investigations would determine if the equipment or the hospitals' electrical system were possible causes of the fires. The company has produced the model since 2012 and has not received any complaints.

Russia has documented at least 232,243 cases of coronavirus, leading to at least 2,116 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Russia has the second-most reported cases of COVID-19, following the U.S.

--This report was updated at 12:59 p.m.