A woman who feared she had suffered a stroke fell out of the back of an ambulance onto a busy highway – and paramedics did not notice she was missing for half an hour as they drove on.
The shocking incident in Russia which left her "lame for life" has led to a criminal investigation.
Galina Dmitriyeva, 56, narrowly missed being run over as she rolled unconscious on the busy road.
Other drivers stopped to help her and a traffic policeman sought to resuscitate her.
The horror came as Galina was being shuttled by ambulance between hospitals while doctors tried to understand why she was dizzy and breathless.
Medics in Lipsetsk city decided she had not suffered as stroke, and sent her to Zadonsk District Hospital.
The woman paramedic broke rules by sitting with the driver, leaving the ailing swimming pool cleaner alone in the back.
“I felt increasingly unwell,” Galina told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“I said to the woman paramedic that I was unwell.
“She shouted at me: ‘What do you want now? Sit quiet’.”
Feeling worse, she tried to move herself to plead with the paramedic for help.
But she tumbled against the back door, which had not been properly locked.
“Everything went dark,” she said.
“I flew out on the road.”
The ambulance crew failed to notice she had fallen out and drove on for another 30 minutes, about 25 kilometres, before realising their patient was missing.
She was eventually taken to the hospital by another ambulance.
Galina, who is unmarried and lives alone, broke her jaw, leg and hip and says she has received no apology.
Eight months after the incident – only now disclosed – she still needs crutches to walk, and finds it hard to speak.
Police initially refused to open a criminal probe into negligence leading to health damage but were overruled by prosecutors.
The paramedic faces up to one year in jail, and a number of staff have been reprimanded.
The hospital initially claimed she voluntarily tried to get out of the ambulance but have since admitted responsibility.
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