Ten patients sick with Covid-19 died on Saturday November 14 in the violent fire of a hospital in northeast Romania, Agence France-Presse learned from the establishment, which also reports several serious injuries. . Seven people are also in critical condition, a spokesperson for the hospital said.
The disaster broke out in the early evening in the intensive care unit of the hospital in the city of Piatra Neamt. He was able to be subdued an hour later. According to preliminary information, eight intubated patients perished in the flames and two others died after their evacuation.
Among the injured, a doctor on duty, who tried to help the victims, presents “Second and third degree burns on 80% of the body”, said the emergency services. The prefect announced the establishment of a crisis cell in which Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is involved. Health Minister Nelu Tataru was expected on the spot.
An open investigation
An investigation was opened by the general prosecutor’s office for manslaughter. The origin of the fire remained unclear for the moment, the health ministry citing a possible « court-circuit » without further details. According to the head of the government health agency, Marius Filip, the hospital had a series of irregularities related to fire standards.
“They did not have designated fire prevention officers for each section or service, they did not have fire response officers, they did not have a training program.”, he said on a local television channel.
This is the most serious fire since that which occurred on October 30, 2015 in the Colectiv club in Bucharest, which left 64 people dead. Some 400 spectators were then trapped inside the room, which was set ablaze during a rock concert accompanied by a pyrotechnic show. The premises did not have emergency exits and the fire extinguishers did not work.
Twenty-six people died on the spot. Thirty-eight others had subsequently died, partly as a result of nosocomial infections. The drama had brought to light the corruption and the unpreparedness of the health system, not equipped to treat serious burns.
A fragile health system
The Romanian health system suffers from dilapidated infrastructure and a serious shortage of doctors and the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating this situation. Rather spared during the first wave, Romania has experienced a sharp rise in new cases and hospitalizations for a few weeks.
The country of 19 million people, one of the poorest in the European Union (EU), on Saturday reported 129 new coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total to 8,813 deaths since the start of the epidemic.