MOSCOW - Russian investigators have opened a criminal probe in the case of a patient who died after he was punched in the head by a doctor.
The announcement of the probe Saturday said the incident took place Dec. 29 in a hospital in Belgorod, 350 miles southwest of Moscow.
Video of the fight (warning: some viewers may find images upsetting) has attracted wide attention on the Internet and was shown on Russian state television. In it, the doctor rushes into an examination room, shouts "Why did you touch my nurse?" and punches the patient, who falls backward through a doorway, striking his head on the floor.
The doctor then scuffles with another man. It's only after several minutes that medics begin attending to the patient who was punched first.
Russia's Investigative Committee said the victim allegedly had kicked a nurse during another procedure.
After the security footage of the incident was released online, many in Russia raised questions of a cover-up culture in state medicine, reports The Telegraph newspaper, because a probe of the incident was announced finally several days after the man died.
Russian media named the doctor as surgeon Ilya Zelendinov, and the patient as 56-year-old Yevgeny Bakhtin.
The Telegraph reports Zelendinov has been fired, but is free from jail pending results the results of the investigation.