Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 32

While Russian medical personnel attending the poisoned hostages had been ordered by Russian security and law enforcement officials not to talk to the press, at least one medical professional, Ol’ga Karpova, a senior doctor with the Department of Operational Response of the Moscow Rescue Service, told about the effects of the poisonous substance used: “It is a poisonous substance that elicits oppression and paralysis of one’s breathing center, that manifests itself in a comatose condition, in rare breathing, and in oppression of the heart vessels. This can result in death, and I personally saw people dying right there [in the theater] on the spot. There had been a large infusion of poisonous substances. I personally witnessed fifteen such cases [of death in the hall].” According to Karpova’s preliminary figures, “It has now been established that thirty-seven persons died of suffocation at the location of the events. Another thirty cases of death were officially established by doctors in the hospital. The doctors maintain that they are doing everything possible to save those whom it is possible to save.”