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October 19, 2021
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Romania, bereavement and grief after fire that killed 10 in Piatra Neamt hospital

  • A tragedy that stirs up painful memories
  • Prosecutors, police and firefighters start investigation to establish culprits and cause of the fire that killed 10 people

 

Romania’s  Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Sunday has had a working meeting with the Minister of Health, Nelu Tătaru, the Interior Minister Marcel Vela and the State Secretary Raed Arafat. Authorities have decided that joint teams of the Directorate of Public Health and the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations will begin checks on Monday in all intensive care units at national level to verify the facilities and the operation of medical equipment.

The decision was made in the aftermath of the tragedy that occurred on Saturday evening, at the Piatra Neamţ County Emergency Hospital (east).

Ten patients suffering from Covid-19 died in the fire that broke out in the intensive care  unit, and seven other people, including the doctor on duty, were seriously injured. The six patients were taken to the Modular Hospital in Lețcani, while the doctor was transferred on Sunday  to a hospital in Brussels, for specialized treatment. The Minister of Health, Nelu Tătaru, considers that the guilt for the tragedy in Piatra Neamţ is a collective one because, he said:  “we have agreed for 30 years to live in such a medical situation.” President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and the leader of the opposition, the Social  Democrat Marcel Ciolacu have all stated they are shocked and saddened by the tragic event and have once again complained about the precarious state of the Romanian health system. The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, has prayed for the victims. Prosecutors from the General Prosecutor’s Office, police and firefighters have started an investigation to determine the causes of the fire. The team is headed by the  prosecutor Marius Iacob from the General Prosecutor’s Office, the one who also investigated the fires at the Colectiv club and the Giuleşti Maternity, Radio Romania International informs.

 

Pope Francis prays for the victims of the tragedy at Piatra Neamt hospital

 

Pope Francis on Sunday conveyed his thoughts and prayer to grieving families for the loss of loved ones following Saturday night’s fire at the Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit of the Piatra Neamt County Hospital, according to Vatican News.

At the “Angel of the Lord” prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the tragedy at the County Hospital in Piatra Neamt and entrusted to God’s mercy the souls of those who lost their lives in the fire at the Department of Anesthesia and Therapy.

 

President Iohannis: It is very important now to find out very quickly how such a fire was possible

 

The “terrible” accident in Piatra Neamt showed, once again, why a profound reform of the Romanian public health system is absolutely necessary, President Klaus Iohannis said on Sunday.

“It is a huge tragedy what happened in Piatra Neamt. I am just coming from the church, where we all prayed for the victims of the fire. What can I say: condolences to the grieving families, and to those who survived a speedy recovery. It is very important now to find out very quickly how such a fire was possible in order to avoid similar situations in the future and, obviously, this terrible accident showed us once again, if necessary, why a profound reform of the public healthcare system is absolutely necessary in Romania,” Iohannis said in Sibiu.

The head of state mentioned that the teams have started checking the causes of this fire, adding that lessons must be learned to prevent such accidents from ever happening again.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic that has come upon us has put the whole system in an extraordinary state of disrepair, and even more so, the technicians have to make sure that the devices work properly to prevent similar incidents,” he added.

 

HealthMin Tataru: We’re all guilty for accepting such medical situation for 30 years

 

Minister of Health Nelu Tataru on Sunday stated that the entire country should feel guilty for “tolerating to live with such a medical situation for 30 years” when asked if he felt guilty for what happened in Piatra Neamt, where a fire broke out in an intensive care unit killing ten people.

“For everything that happened with the healthcare system in the past 30 years, I think that we are all guilty. We are guilty of the local authorities we elected and we are guilty because we stayed aside, not getting involved. So it’s not just the medical system or the local authorities who should take the blame, but we are all guilty, for tolerating to live with such a medical situation for 30 years,” said Tataru, in Letcani.

Asked what measures he would take to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again, the Minister mentioned the re-assessment of the management and “everything that means re-assessment of the treatment capacity of health units, everything that means coordination.”

“I don’t know if we will fire the managers. The coordination of the medical activity must be the one that reflects their activity,” stated Nelu Tataru.

He said on Saturday evening that an assessment on rebuilding the ICU of the Piatra Neamt County Hospital would be done.

“The task force has been created here, including the mayor, the hospital manager, precisely to assess a intensive care capacity, we are going to assess and we assessed the perspective of the ICU with everything that means endowments and the ICU rebuilding in the next two weeks,” Nelu Tataru said, upon exiting the Piatra Neamt County Hospital, where he went to evaluate the situation, following the fire that broke out at the ICU.

 

USR announces it suspends any electoral activity

 

The Save Romania Union (USR) has announced that it is suspending any electoral activity, out of respect for the victims of the fire at the hospital in Piatra Neamt.

“Out of respect for the victims from Piatra Neamt, today we suspend any electoral activity. Sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the fire at the hospital in Piatra Neamt,” it is shown on the USR Facebook page.

 

Custodian of the Crown Margareta: My family and I pray for those who perished

 

Custodian of the Crown Margareta stated that she is deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place at the hospital in Piatra Neamt and is wholeheartedly with the grieving families.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place at the County Hospital in Piatra Neamt. Patients, who were struggling to survive, lost their lives in a disastrous fire. My family and I pray for those who perished and our thoughts are with their families. Our affection and thoughts go to the doctor on duty, who risked his own life to save his patients and wish him well! In these moments of deep pain, we need to remember that every life in part is priceless,” reads the message sent on Sunday by the Royal House.

 

US Ambassador expresses his condolences to families of victims

 

The US Ambassador to Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman, on Sunday expressed his condolences to the families of those who perished in the hospital fire at Piatra Neamt-based hospital on Saturday and has directed that the American flag be flown at half-mast in honour of the victims.

“The people of the United States today grieve with the people of Romania. We commend the brave hospital employees and first responders who, without giving a thought to their own safety, rushed into the blaze to save the patients and other people still inside the hospital,” Ambassador Zuckerman stated.

“May God bless all the heroes who saved lives at the hospital fire overnight. The physician who rushed into the flames, risking his own life to save others is a model for all of us. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery,” he added.

According to the same source, Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman called Prime Minister Orban early this morning to relay his condolences and offer the full assistance of the U.S. Government, including help in investigating the cause of the fire and support in preventing any similar tragedies in the future.

Ambassador Zuckerman also commended the Prime Minister on the highly professional and timely Romanian Government response to this tragedy. The Government’s response is all the more remarkable given the enormous stress already burdening Government resources due to the Covid outbreak.

The Ambassador agreed with the Prime Minister to assist with a plan to review and modernize or rebuild all hospitals in Romania so this never happens again. In sign of grief, he commended that the American flag be flown at half-mast in honour of the victims.

 

Ambassador Auer conveys condolences to families of the victims, expresses the deep solidarity of France in these difficult times

 

The French Ambassador to Romania, Laurence Auer, conveyed condolences to the families of the victims of the fire at the county hospital in Piatra Neamţ and wishes of speedy recovery to the injured, also expressing the “deep solidarity” of France in these difficult times.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the victims. I also wish the wounded a speedy recovery and express the deep solidarity of France in these difficult times,” Laurence Auer said in a statement issued by the French Embassy.

 

Compiled from Agerpres

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