September 23, 2017

Photo Essay: The Abandoned Hospital Where Radiation Illness Fills The Air

It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Of the Chernobyl workers who didn't immediately die in the blast, those who fell severely ill from radiation illness were sent for treatment at the Pripyat hospital...

...which, itself, was under a cloud of contamination.

Maybe there was no time to ship them to Moscow?

But certainly any of the workers on the scene—as well as the first responders and the subsequent so-called "liquidators" (or clean-up crew)—couldn't have improved much under those conditions, just a couple of miles from the site of the original explosion.

It's no wonder that this is one of the most radioactive spots still today—31 years later—in Pripyat.

It's no wonder why it's technically illegal to enter.

They say that spending a day in the Exclusion Zone of the Chernobyl disaster site is perfectly safe, dosing you with less radiation than what you would've gotten on the flight over.

But that's a spin on reality, based on averages.

That doesn't account for the firemen's helmets and other protective gear that's been left discarded at the hospital...

...their original owners having likely perished from exposure to the fallout.

In fact, there are piles of bandages there that are so radioactive—whose Geiger counter readings are so off the charts—that you probably shouldn't even walk past them.

Sure, you won't receive a fatal dose anywhere anymore—probably—but if you stood on certain hotspots for, say, an hour, you could lose your fertility.

"This is where shit gets real," our tour guide said.

This was also the only point of interest where we were given respirator masks—pretty flimsy ones, at that—though I don't really know what it was that we would've been breathing in otherwise.

There was, indeed, a lot of particulate matter in the air, causing me to sneeze for days on end. Dust? Paint chips? Irradiated detritus? Who knows.

Since I've been in a few abandoned hospitals in my day, I tried not to think about the germs...

...or the radiation...

...or the death.

I looked for signs of life.

But at every turn, all I could see was devastation.

I couldn't imagine newborn babies swaddled in the nursery before April 26, 1986.

All I could think about was what happened in that hospital afterwards...

...when the music stopped playing...

...and human life, too vulnerable to nuclear contamination, began to give way to those organisms that actually could survive the apocalypse.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Hallowed Halls of Pripyat's Primary School, Evacuated
Photo Essay: Linda Vista Community Hospital, Abandoned, Exterior
Photo Essay: Last Chance Look at Linda Vista Hospital (Roof, Boiler Room, Kitchen & More)
Dancers Descend Upon the Semi-Vacant Crenshaw Hospital
Photo Essay: A Vacant Hospital's Frightening Admissions

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