As reported earlier today by numerous outlets in the North American press, the Public Prosecutor tasked with investigating the death of 19-year old Alexei Cherepanov has released a statement citing violations on the part of the Vityaz arena director and local municipality which prevented Cherepanov from getting “timely and skilled medical care” after he collapsed on the bench during a game in the Moscow suburb of Chekhov on October 13th.
According to a story in RIA Novosti, the investigation revealed that the director of the Vityaz Arena, Juri Afonkin, signed a certificate of readiness prior to the start of the game, certifying that all legal requirements for holding a sporting event — including the presence of the ambulance — had been met. However, investigators determined that there was no ambulance on-site at the arena at any point during the game.
Investigators also cited violations on the part of the local municipality for failing to supply an ambulance, despite one being requested in writing by Afonkin a month in advance.
It’s not clear whether criminal charges will be filed against the parties involved. Afonkin and the director of the Vityaz hockey club, Mikhail Denisov, have already been removed from their posts.
According to a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, on the evening of Cherepanov’s death, there were six local ambulance crews on duty. At the time the call was received from the arena, five were already out on other calls, and the sixth had been taken out of service due to “technical malfunctions”. As a result, the call for help was redirected to a regional trauma crew, which responded to the scene.
While the North American reports reiterate the initial diagnosis of chronic ischemia — a diagnosis which was reported within hours of Cherepanov’s death, and which doctors in both Russia and North America have since questioned — the RIA Novosti story describes the cause of death as “myocardiopathy” resulting in “accute cardiac arrest”.
The forensic investigation into the cause of Cherepanov’s death continues, “with the purpose of clarifying questions about how long the disease developed, whether it could have been diagnosed while he was alive, and whether oversight of the state of health of the athlete was correctly implemented by team doctors.”
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