Inside Chernobyl's Abandoned Hospital

By Timm Suess

A once-modern facility after 27 years of nuclear contamination and neglect

Around midnight on April 26, 1986, the engineers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant initiated a test of reactor number 4. The test went wrong and resulted in one of the most devastating nuclear accidents in history, leaving the area a contaminated exclusion zone.

In the middle of that zone lies the city of Pripyat, home to 50,000 citizens, it was a modern symbol of progress until the accident. It had schools, public sporting grounds, shops, a cultural center, and a large hospital. Consisting of an inpatient building, three clinics, and a lab building, it had a capacity of 400 patients. Many of them were treated there for radiation sickness until the evacuation of the city.

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Trees have started to grow in front of the hospital's entrance. The radiation has damaged their sense of orientation, leaving them to grow crooked in all directions. [Timm Suess]

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Once inviting, the hospital lobby now is home to moss, rust, and mold. [Timm Suess]

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The once prominent light blue is fading from the walls of the hospital's ground floor corridor. [Timm Suess]

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A sole, patient-less hospital bed. [Timm Suess]

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On every floor, common rooms once provided opportunities for patients to socialize. [Timm Suess]

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Some plants survive, perhaps due to the damp floors. [Timm Suess]

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An odd collection of bedside tables inside one of the common rooms. [Timm Suess]

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Haphazardly strewn onto a water bottle, a couple of chess pieces lie discarded. [Timm Suess]

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Unwashed mattresses next to an autoclave. [Timm Suess]

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Rusty skeletons of cribs in the maternity ward. [Timm Suess]

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Preventing injuries and infections was high on the priority list. [Timm Suess]

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A sign translated as "Resuscitation." [Timm Suess]

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One of the long hospital corridors. The higher the floor, the more desolate the state. [Timm Suess]

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On the roof of the hospital, a clear view to the power plant on the horizon. [Timm Suess]

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The entrance to the lab building next door. [Timm Suess]

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Symbols of natural sciences etched onto the windows of the lab building: Chemistry, physics, biology, and pharmacology. [Timm Suess]

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The triage zone in one of the clinics. The large boards showed who was on duty. [Timm Suess]

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An examination chair on the hospital grounds." [Timm Suess]

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/inside-chernobyls-abandoned-hospital/266693/