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October 16, 2021

Nurse detained over Giulesti Maternity Hospital fire

Nurse Florentina Cristea from the Giulesti Maternity Hospital was detained, Monday evening, for 24 hours, by prosecutors of the High Court Prosecutor’s Office, under charges of manslaughter and causing severe injuries. She was presented in court with a call for her preventive arrest yesterday afternoon, Agerpres reports.

“The evidence analysed up to this point of the investigation suggest that the defendant, an employee of the “Prof. Dr. Panait Sarbu” Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinical Hospital, failed to accomplish the tasks in her job description, that is to say, she didn’t keep a constant watch of the newborns in the ‘intensive care’ ward. By leaving the ward without a proper justification she prevented the timely observation of the fire and made it impossible for the newborns to be taken out of the ward in due course,” is stated in a release by the Prosecutor’s Office. Five newborns died in the fire, and six others remain in a critical condition.

Prosecutor Marius Iacob, chief of the Criminal Prosecution and Investigation Department within the General Prosecutor’s Office, stated, on Monday, in a press conference, that, depending on the evidence, other individuals or legal entities may be prosecuted. Investigations showed that nurse Cirstea had left the ward for 12 minutes, during which time the fire started and spread rapidly. The prosecutor added that, during the said time, the nurse was in other wards, although she was supposed to keep watch exclusively of the intensive care ward.

The lawyer representing the nurse, Luciana Parvu, said that the nurse is mourning the death of the babies under her care and that she is stricken with remorse. According to the lawyer, in the 12 minutes during which the nurse left the ward, she was meaning to go to the ladies’ room. On her way there, she stopped at the Caesarean Sections ward, to ask a fellow-nurse to fill in for her, at which time her fellow-nurse asked her to remain there, as she was supposed to assist in a delivery. Parvu explained that, in this context, the situation became “somewhat impossible”, so that nurse Carstea gave up going to the ladies’ room and remained in the Caesarean Sections ward. The lawyer stated that the nurse acknowledges her burden of guilt and that she “tearfully” regrets what happened.

Healthcare vacant posts still blocked

Prime Minister Emil Boc does not oppose the hiring of new employees in the healthcare system, but says this is not possible until the restructuring process is complete. “At this time, one in seven people may be hired according to legal procedures and this is being done,” the prime minister stated, quoted by Agerpres. Boc added that he had called for an assessment of the system so as to identify the medical units and fields in which there is a stringent need of staff. Extra staff may be hired, if need be, after September 1, when the restructuring process will be completed.

Health Miniter Cseke Attila said he had asked the cabinet to unblock positions in the healthcare system and for higher wages for physicians, by the unified wages’ law, but he was met with opposition from certain cabinet members. Doctors argue that the Giulesti Maternity tragedy may possibly have been avoided if two nurses, rather than one, would have been on duty in the intensive care ward. Meanwhile, the minister of Regional Development and Tourism, Elena Udrea, told a press conference yesterday that the Bucharest Mayor’s Office failed to come up with any projects to access European funds to rehabilitate and refurbish hospitals under its command, denouncing the City Hall’s lack of interest in the matter. She announced that representatives of the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL) in the Capital’s City Council (CGMB) would also vote for the budget rectification meant to allot funds to modernise the gynaecology ward at the Giulesti Maternity and would call for the founding of a CGMB standing committee to operate checks in hospitals under the command of the Bucharest Mayor’s Office.

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