After an explosion that occurred at Giulesti hospital in Bucharest on Monday evening, four new-born babies died and seven were severely injured, according to Mediafax. An investigation will be started, which will demonstrate whether the fire is a case of neglect and, if so, who should be held responsible for the severe consequences that the accident has brought upon.
Until further notice from the authorities, it seems that at the basis of the explosion that caused the fire stood an electrical fault, which probably appeared due to an improvisation at the air conditioning system, reports Mediafax, quoting judicial sources. Moreover, it seems that the fire would not have emerged if the room where the explosion took place had been monitored.
The injured infants who find themselves in a critical state are now being taken care of at the Grigore Alexandrescu hospital. Giulesti maternity ward has been completely evacuated and patients were sent to Grigore Alexandrescu hospital and Filantropia.
The accident at the Giulesti hospital has drawn attention on the precarious health system in Romania, both in the national and international press. Reuters reports that “Romania is one of the European Union’s poorest countries and its medical services are considered among the worst in the bloc”.
Moreover, the accident at Giulesti hospital also brings focus on the exodus of Romanian doctors leaving the country for better work conditions abroad, especially after salaries in the public sector were cut by the Government as an austerity measure. On the subject of the current deflation in qualified medical staff in Romania, in a recent televised talk-show, Romanian president Basescu declared that it is everyone’s right to seek better work conditions.
UPDATE: The parents of the deceased infants will receive a state aid worth RON 5,000 and the families of the injured babies will receive compensations of RON 3,000, according to Mediafax. Prime-minister Boc had announced on Tuesday afternoon that the parents of the deceased Giulesti fire victims would receive emergency state aids.
The case of the Giulesti maternity ward has been taken over by the Criminal Section of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, with prosecutors starting a criminal investigation for third degree murder and serious injury infliction.
A team of ten Israeli doctors has arrived at the Grigore Alexandrescu hospital to help with the treatment of the seven injured babies born in premature conditions, according to Associated Press. The doctors arrived in Bucharest at the invitation of the Bucharest City Hall. All of the injured babies were taken to the Grigore Alexandrescu hospital with burns covering 80 percent of their bodies.
UPDATE 2: The fifth infant injured in the maternity ward fire has passed away today, with one more in a critical state and the rest of the surviving victims stable, yet holding low chances of survival. The entire management of the Giulesti hospital has been suspended until the investigation is finalized, by orders from mayor Sorin Oprescu, as requested by Health minister, Attila Cseke. The interim manager is Victoria Nicolau, MD anesthesiologist.
According to Mediafax, Cseke has also declared that all hospitals will be verified with regard to anti-fire measures. What’s more, the Health minister has also requested the government to unblock positions from the medical system, as there is urgent need for personnel in certain cases.