[Marxism] fwd: Doctor: Yushchenko Poisoned With Dioxin [AP/Yahoo]

paul illich paul_illich at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 11 11:46:38 MST 2004

This seems fairly extraordinary!


Doctor: Yushchenko Poisoned With Dioxin

45 minutes ago   Top Stories - AP

By SUSANNA LOOF, Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria - Dioxin poisoning caused the mysterious illness of 
Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, a doctor said Saturday, 
adding that the poison could have been put in his soup.

Yushchenko is now in satisfactory condition and dioxin levels in his liver 
have returned to normal, Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of Vienna's private 
Rudolfinerhaus clinic, said at a news conference.

A series of tests run over the past 24 hours provided conclusive evidence of 
the poisoning, Zimpfer said.

"There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease — especially 
following the results of the blood work — has been caused by a case of 
poisoning by dioxin," Zimpfer said.

The 50-year-old opposition leader first fell ill in September and was rushed 
to the Vienna hospital. He resumed campaigning later in the month but his 
mysterious illness had left his face pockmarked and ashen.

Yushchcenko also suffered back pain, acute pancreatitis and nerve paralysis 
on the left side of his face.

He has accused Ukrainian authorities of trying to poison him ahead of 
Ukraine's presidential vote — an allegation they have denied.

"We suspect involvement of an external party, but we cannot answer as to who 
cooked what or who was with him while he ate," Zimpfer said, adding that 
tests showed the dioxin was taken orally.

Zimpfer said Yushchenko's blood and tissue registered concentrations of 
dioxin — one of the most toxic chemicals — that were 1,000 times above 
normal levels.

"It would be quite easy to administer this amount in a soup," Zimpfer said.

Blood tests have been run on Yushchenko before, but this time the hospital 
sent the samples to a hospital in Amsterdam which is using a new analysis 
method that could test it for dioxin, Dr. Nikolai Korpan said.

Korpan added that no functional damage would remain and Yushchenko was 
"fully capable of working."

Yushchenko's supporters expressed little surprise Saturday as the medical 
report spread through the protesters' camp in Independence Square.

"Everybody knew he was poisoned so we didn't really need official tests," 
Anatoly Klotchyk, 19, who stood in the sleet outside his tent near the 

A former representative for rival candidate Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych 
on the Central Election Commission, Stepan Havrysh, questioned the medical 
conclusions, saying that while he felt sorry for Yushchenko, "I'm afraid, 
two weeks before the vote, it's all political technologies."

Taras Chornovyl, Yanukovych's campaign manager, also rejected the notion 
that the prime minister was involved, saying there was "no logic in such an 

Kremlin representatives were not available for comment.

When first seen by the Austrian doctors, Yushchenko was in a "critical 
stage" but was "not on the verge of dying," Zimpfer said.

"If this dose had been higher, it may have caused death," Zimpfer said.

Dioxin — one of the contaminants found in Agent Orange — is formed as a 
by-product from industrial processes such as waste incineration, chemical 
and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching.

The tests showed that Yushchenko suffered from chloracne, a type of adult 
acne caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, which sometimes takes two to 
three years to heal, hospital dermatologist Hubert Pehmberger told The 
Associated Press.

Dioxins are a normal contaminant in many foods, but a single high dose can 
trigger illness, London-based toxicologist John Henry said last month.

Shortly after the announcement of the diagnosis on Saturday, Henry told 
British Broadcasting Corp. television that Yushchenko's case was, in his 
experience, unique.

"We've never had a case like this, a known case of large, severe dioxin 
poisoning ... It's normally fairly mild. It can cause liver damage," he 
said. "It's usually low-level, long-term poisoning. A very large dose, 
nobody has any real idea of what it would cause. Now we do know."

Yushchenko had returned to the hospital later in September for further 
treatment and checked in for a third time Friday.

Dr. Nikolai Korpan said "no functional damage will remain."

Citing fraud, Ukraine's Supreme Court voided the outcome of the Nov. 21 
runoff vote, which Yushchenko lost to Yanukovych. A rerun of the ballot is 
slated for Dec. 26.

Arriving at the hospital Saturday afternoon, Yushchenko's wife Kateryna 
Chumachenko said she was convinced from the start that her husband was 

"We had received threats before it happened, and we continued to receive 
threats because I think there are many people who consider my husband and 
the changes he would bring to Ukraine a threat to them personally," she 

Yushchenko arrived at the hospital in a convoy of three cars, surrounded by 

"Everything is going well. I plan to live for a long time and I plan to live 
happily. I am getting better health every day," said Yushchenko, wearing a 
scarf in his orange campaign color.

Earlier in the race, Yushchenko had refused to let doctors take biopsies of 
his facial tissue and reportedly said he did not want to have his face 
bandaged while campaigning.

Going to Austria provided him an opportunity to determine conclusively what 
happened, said Markian Bilynskyj, a Kiev-based analyst.

"He can afford to miss a couple of days," Bilynskyj said. "The critical 
stages were before the first and the second round (of elections). Should he 
become president, he would have to dispel any doubts of his health."

about dioxins - http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/dioxinqa.html

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