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August 10, 2022

Dealing with the aftermath of Piatra Neamt tragedy: Prosecutors complete on-scene investigation into hospital fire

The Attorney General’s Office has announced on Monday that prosecutors have completed an investigation at the scene of a fire that broke out at the intensive care unit inside the Piatra Neamt County Hospital, collected DNA evidence to establish the identity of five of the dead persons, and conducted forensic autopsies on the victims.

The office clarified in a press statement on Monday the latest developments in the investigations taking place at the Piatra Neamt County Hospital:

* In order to round the evidence, in order to ensure that the truth about all the circumstances of the case will be found, prosecutors with the Criminal Investigation and Forensic Section of the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation asked the judge of rights and freedoms with the Piatra Neamt Courthouse to conduct a search of the Piatra Neamt Emergency County Hospital and annexes. Pursuant to the warrant issued by the judge of rights and freedoms, on the evening of November 15, 2020, under the coordination of prosecutors, the search was carried out, and documents necessary to establish the circumstances of the fire were seized.

* The investigation at the scene was completed with support from construction experts and experts of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, the National Institute of Forensic Expertise, the National Institute of Forensics within the Romanian Police, the Petrosani National Institute for Research and the Development for Mining Security and Explosive Protection, the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police – Criminal Investigation Directorate and of the Neamt County Police Inspectorate.

* DNA testing was ordered to establish the identity of five of the deceased.

* Forensic autopsies were performed on the victims.

* Witness hearings were conducted.

A team of prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, police officers and fire investigators started on Sunday the on-scene investigation into the fire in the ICU of the Piatra Neamt County Hospital.

The investigation was led by prosecutor Marius Iacob with the Attorney General’s Office, who in the past handled investigations into a deadly fire at the Colectiv club in Bucharest City case and another fire at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital also in Bucharest City.

Prosecutors in this case have opened a criminal case in rem for culpable homicide and culpable negligence.


County Emergency Hospital manager says to resign


Manager of the Piatra-Neamt County Emergency Hospital (SJU) Lucian Micu announced on Monday in a press statement that he will submit his resignation from office on Tuesday morning, “not before making sure that he does not leave things to chance, but that there will be continuity without hiatus.”

“Saturday night’s tragedy that left ten people dead has affected us all. Particularly the relatives of the patients, the medical staff that stepped in to save people and save themselves, Piatra Neamt medical workers and doctors from all over the country, journalists, me and my family, people who understand suffering and who know that no one ever wanted this to happen. (…) My presence as manager of the hospital no longer helps at this time. The time has come for me to retire and wait for the specialists to establish very clearly the causes of the fire that burned down a ward and caused deep injuries to many people. My resignation is no abandonment, it is a gesture that I make with the respect that I believe the relatives of the patients and the affected medical staff deserve! I am calling, as a person, on all of us to show understanding and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the medical team of the hospital who still need to focus on saving as many lives as possible. My resignation will be submitted in the early hours tomorrow, not before making sure that I do not leave things to chance, but that there will be continuity without hiatus,” said Micu.

He added that all decisions made in the hospital he leads were in the interest of patients.

“It is in our nature, of people, to look for culprits in such moments, to ask for explanations, to bloviate on what it was and how that could have been avoided. I may be so myself. But I have I learned that, first of all, I have to be cerebral, and that is what I tried to do immediately after the tragedy. Together with the SJU Piatra Neamt team, we tried and found solutions for the medical unit to stay functional. It was important for patients who are still in a critical condition to have an adequate space in which to receive the necessary medical care. Work is underway for the new ICU beds to become operational today. Last night [Sunday to Monday] we made available all the documents needed to find the real cause of the fire. I have no doubt that all the decisions made now and in the past have been made so that the medical team can take care of patients as well and efficiently as possible. They wished for the best,” said Micu.

According to him “there is politics in everything,” which “is only to the detriment of patients.”

“Unfortunately, there is politics in everything. I can understand that. It’s been like that for 30 years. From comfortable office chairs things are different. When you’re by the patient’s bedside, you see reality. The medical activity in a hospital is subordinated to the Ministry of Health, and administrative activity is subordinated to local public administrations. There are some with medicine, others with the money. Between them there is also politics. They are not all working together, which is sometimes only to the detriment of those who should matter – patients,” Micu also said, according to Agerpres.

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