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Pripyat Hospital 126 was once a busy hospital on the outskirts of the city. On the night of the disaster at the nearby nuclear power plant it was where the first firefighters and workers were initially treated. Their clothes remain in the basement. Too contaminated to be moved. The hospital is now empty and slowly crumbling, off limits to those visiting the exclusion zone as part of a tour.
- Pripyat hospital was once a busy hospital including a maternity uni
- On the night of the disaster at the nuclear power plant it was where the first injuries were treated.
- Many of the firefighters and workers were admitted before staff realised they were contaminated
- Their clothes remain in the basement, too contaminated to be moved
- Entry to the hospital is forbidden by the authorities and will land you and your tour company a fine
Hospital MSCH-126 Medico-Sanitary unit was the main hospital in Pripyat caring for the workers in the nearby nuclear power plant and their families.
The hospital had 410 beds as well as clinics spread out across five interconnected buildings each six stories high. Close to the cafe and dock it sits on Druzhby Narodov Street (Friendship of the People Street) and accounts for most of Microdistrict 1 within Pripyat City.
On the roof, large letters stand proud and read “Здоров’я народу – багатство країни” – “health of the people – riches of the country”.
On the night of the accident at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant the firemen and workers at the plant were brought to the hospital suffering from radiation sickness and burns. The firemen were taken to the hospital by ambulance still wearing their suits. However even after 30 years their suits, stored in the basement of the hospital, still emit a lethal dose of radiation.
Slipping into the hospital was a sobering experience. Once a busy maternity hospital, the end building now stands empty, the operating theatres silent and the cribs in the nursery empty.
Photography within Pripyat Hospital is now not possible as there is a ban on entering buildings. This is due to the effects of time on the structures. If you are caught inside the building there are fines for both the individual and the tour company.
At the time of taking these photographs the hospital was still accessible. The maternity unit on the first floor provided an insight into the hospital with each room having different uses. All photography needed to be carried out quickly with a high ISO to reduce the shutter speed in the poor light. Tripods were not used as they posed a contamination risk on returning to the vehicle and there was not time to set up a shot within the hospital.
Places in Pripyat Near the Hospital
Finding Pripyat Hospital – 126
Pripyat Hospital is located within the Exclusion Zone, put in place after the nuclear disaster at the nearby power plant and is about 2 hours by road from Kyiv.
It cannot be entered but is identified by the metal wheel chair in the undergrowth outside the building.