Need Surgery? Bring Vodka And A Bribe

Ghostly pale, cancer patient Zinaida Smirnova huddles under a blanket at Moscow's Hematology Research Institute hospital. "It's very hard for us," she says, in the drab green room she shares with four others. The bedside call button doesn't work, and even if it did, nurses are scarce. Her family brings food, medicine, and fresh bedding. Several times a day, Smirnova hobbles down the hall to a toilet shared by 60 patients. Still, she feels lucky because a doctor gives her the chemotherapy she hopes will cure her.

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