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October 5, 2022
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A new tragedy hits a Romanian hospital. Fire at the Matei Bals Institute kills five persons, 102 persons were evacuated. Red Plan of intervention, activated. Reactions

A fire broke out on Friday morning in a ward at the Matei Bals Institute where COVID-19 patients were being treated. Three people were found dead after the smoke cleared, and the fourth victim died after resuscitation failed. Later  on  in the day, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lucian Bode, announced that the fifth victim of the fire at the Matei Bals Epidemiological Institute has been found charred.

“I confirm, five victims are identified in the fire at Matei Bals. I send my condolences to the families of the victims. The fire started on the ground floor of a ward, obviously the entire building was evacuated because it was affected by smoke. 102 patients were at that time in the ward, 43 were relocated to other units in Bucharest and 53 were relocated to the Matei Bals hospital. We are waiting for the results of the investigation,” Bode said on the private broadcaster Digi 24.

He said the fifth victim was found in the bathroom.

“I have this confirmation for the fifth victim. I can confirm that the charred body was found in the bathroom,” the Interior Minister said.

According to the head of the Department of Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, three people were found after the smoke was released, and a fourth was resuscitated, but without positive results.

A total of 38 first aid crews were mobilized Friday morning for the fire.

The coordinator of the medical team, Dr. Bogdan Oprita, stated that six mobile intensive care crews and five personal transport and multiple victims special ambulances were also active on the spot.

According to him, at the level of Floreasca Hospital, following the setting in motion of the “red plan”, almost 100 doctors and nurses were additionally mobilized to intervene “if necessary”.

From Matei Bals 102 people were evacuated to several hospitals: Floreasca Emergency, Sfantul Ioan, and Sfantul Pantelimon, and the rest were evacuated to the other wards inside the institute.

Bogdan Oprita also said that of the 44 people evacuated, two were in more serious condition and required respiratory prosthesis measures.

 

Criminal case for culpable homicide in the case of the fire at the Matei Bals Institute

 

Prosecutors with the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Bucharest Tribunal have opened a criminal case in rem for committing culpable homicide in the case of the fire at the Matei Bals Institute in the Capital, resulting in the death of four patients.

Prosecutors are already on the scene and investigations have begun, according to prosecutor’s office representatives.

The head of the Department of Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, Minister of Health Vlad Voiculescu, the Secretary of State with the Ministry of Health, Andreea Moldovan, the Prefect of the Capital, Traian Berbeceanu, went to the Matei Bals Institute on Friday morning.

 

“Marius Nasta” Hospital manager: Four patients were transferred here, two in serious condition

 

Four patients – two women and two men – ages between 62 and 89 were transferred from the blaze-hit “Matei Bals” Institute to the “Marius Nasta” Institute, following the fire that broke out Friday morning at the Bucharest Covid-19 hospital; two of them are in a severe condition, said the manager of the “Marius Nasta” Institute, Beatrice Mahler.

“Four people – two women and two men – were brought to ‘Marius Nasta’. We have up to 36 beds available, 32 in the COVID ward. If necessary, we are here and we are at the side of our colleagues at ‘Matei Bals’ and of the patients there who are going through a very difficult time. The ages of the transferred patients are between 62 and 89. One of the women is in stable condition, a male patient needs high concentration oxygen. Unfortunately, another two patients – a woman and a man – are in a serious general condition and have been sent to intensive care. (…) They are conscious, they are aware, but have been put in intensive care due to their serious general condition. Two people in stable condition are in the COVID ward, two in a severe condition are in intensive care,” said Mahler, who made it clear that none of the four patients transferred from the “Matei Bals” Hospital has burns.

She cautioned about the faltering hospital infrastructure, saying that all plumbing and electrical installations need to undergo a thorough technical revision.

“At the ‘Marius Nasta’ Institute we have our own oxygen plant and we sought autonomy precisely in order to stay clear of such issues. The oxygen installations are overworked, these patients require very high oxygen flows. Let us not forget that apart from the oxygen installations, we also have the electrical ones to consider, an infrastructure that needs to be modified. This has been said after the fire at the Piatra Neamt hospital, when controls to assess the state of the hospitals and see what investments are needed have been carried out. Steps in this direction and getting to work are imperative. The checks looked at the age of the hospital and at the need for investment in infrastructure. A technical revision of all the institute’s sanitary and electrical installations is needed, we are working on this, because it is not possible to make correct evaluations without such data,” said Beatrice Mahler.

 

Health Ministry: 53 patients transferred to other hospitals

 

The Ministry of Health informs that 53 patients from the Matei Bals Epidemiological Institute were transferred to other medical units in the Capital, following the fire that broke out Friday morning.

According to the Health Ministry, the transfers proceeded as follows:

* 11 patients at the Sf. Ioan Emergency Clinical Hospital in Bucharest. All patients are stable, oxygen-dependent.

* 5 patients at the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest. One patient intubated from smoke intoxication, the other 4 stable.

* 6 patients at the Elias University Emergency Hospital. They’re all oxygen-dependent, stable.

* 4 patients at the Victor Babes Infectious and Tropical Diseases Hospital. One patient in ICU, oxygen-dependent. The medical unit is waiting for two more patients from the Emergency Clinical Hospital Bagdasar-Arseni.

* 5 patients at the Sf. Pantelimon Emergency Clinic. Four patients in ICU oxygen-dependent and one on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

* 4 patients at the Central Military Hospital. Two stable patients at Hospital-ROL 2, one intubated in the hospital, one stable patient in the ICU.

* 3 patients at the Witting Hospital. Three patients became conscious, and the fourth was brought to this unit and transferred to the Central Military Hospital.

* 4 patients at the Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumoftiziology. Two in ICU oxygen-dependent.

* A patient at the MIA Hospital Dimitrie Gerota, intubated.

* 3 patients at the Bagdasar-Arseni Emergency Clinical Hospital established. One patient was transferred to Monza Hospital and 2 other patients are to be transferred to Victor Babes Hospital.

* 7 patients at the Floreasca Emergency Hospital. Six patients in stable condition, one patient died (he was the one who needed resuscitation – the fourth fatality).

“The data is dynamic,” says the Ministry of Health.

 

Matei Bals patients transferred to Military Emergency Hospital ICU

 

Two patients who on Friday were transferred from the Matei Bals Hospital to the Dr. Carol Davila Central Military Emergency University Hospital (SUUMC) are in intensive care, and two more transferred to the ROL2 healthcare facility at Otopeni are in a stable state and burn-free, according to the Defence Ministry (MApN).

“The patients transferred to SUUMC are currently hospitalised at the intensive care unit of the hospital, being in various stages of a multidisciplinary medical reassessment, given the suspicions of diagnoses associated with the underlying disease (COVID 19) due to the effects of the fire that occurred this morning,” MApN says in a press statement.

The patients admitted to the ROL2 facility of the Ana Aslan Institute at Otopeni are in a stable state, without burns, their hemodynamics and respiration in balance.

MApN officials have announced that the families of the four patients have been informed about their state of health and are in contact with the medical teams.

 

Reactions

 

Prime Minister sends condolences to families of victims of Matei Bals Institute fire

 

Prime Minister Florin Citu sent a message of sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the fire that occurred Friday morning, at the Matei Bals Institute, and added that “all measures have been taken so that the situation can be quickly stabilized”.

“A tragedy hit Bucharest this morning. Unfortunately, with casualties. Firstly, I send my sincerest condolences to the grieving families. I activated the Red Plan from the first moment and along with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the prefect of Bucharest we took all measures so that the situation can be quickly stabilized. At the same time we identified places in other hospitals in Bucharest where several patients were immediately transferred. I made sure that the transfer was made in secure conditions. One thing is certain, this time the authorities’ reaction was quick and efficient. Regarding causes and those responsible we will talk after we have all the information,” Florin Citu wrote on Friday, on his Facebook page.

 

Raed Arafat: The problem now sits in the hand of those that will investigate the cause of the fire

 

The head of the Emergency Situations Department, Raed Arafat, declared on Friday that from the current information, apart from the four people who died from the fire at “Matei Bals” Institute, there are no longer critical patients or burn patients.

“We have no other people in critical condition apart from those that had COVID. Here we are talking about a COVID pavilion. The problem now sits in the hand of those that will investigate on behalf of the Police, the Forensic Department, Emergency Situation Inspectorate, who will investigate the cause of the fire, which at this point we will not speculate until we have clear conclusions from our colleagues. There are no people who suffered serious problems, with the exception, of the four deceased, unfortunately. The rest of the people were transferred to other hospitals, given that they are COVID patients, they need oxygen and were transferred for treatment there. We no longer have burned patients, we no longer have patients with other problems at this moment, from the information we have. It was not an Intensive Care Unit,” Arafat said, after leaving the scene.

 

PSD’s Ciolacu: Government’s lack of action to prevent repeat of Piatra Neamt tragedy shocking, heartbreaking

 

Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu offered today condolences to the families of the patients killed in the fire that ravaged four patient’s rooms of the “Matei Bals” Bucharest Hospital early this morning, underscoring that the government’s lack of action to prevent tragedies like that in Piatra Neamt from happening again is “shocking, heartbreaking and outrageous”.

“I would like to extend my condolences to the families of the patients who died in the ‘Matei Bals’ fire and wish the injured a speedy recovery. The courage and training of the doctors, nurses and medical staff who took exceptional action in a critical situation have saved many lives. However, it is shocking, heartbreaking and outrageous to see that, apart from sharing positions, continually passing responsibility and engaging in political struggle, this government has done absolutely nothing to prevent a tragedy like that in Piatra Neamt from happening again,” Ciolacu wrote on Facebook.

Ciolacu lists 7 hospital fires that happened since November, slamming the government for taking nothing but “window-dressing actions”.

“7 hospitals have already been hit by fire in recent months: the Piatra Neamt hospital in November; the CFR Cluj Napoca Hospital, also in November; the Anesthesia and Intensive Care ward of the Targu Mures County Hospital on December 4; the Socola Psychiatric Hospital in Iasi on December 25; the Municipal Psychiatric Hospital in Roman on January 2; the Psychiatric Hospital in Gataia – Timis, on January 5. And now ‘Matei Bals’, on January 29. Throughout this time, nothing concrete has been done, only window-dressing actions. Unless the authorities understand that they must take responsibility and rise to the level of the positions they hold, we will keep on counting deaths. How many more hospitals must burn for this government to do something?,” inquires the PSD leader.

 

President Iohannis: A very sad day today, with the tragedy that happened here this morning

 

President Klaus Iohannis offered today condolences to the families of the patients killed in the fire that broke out at Matei Bals Bucharest Epidemiological Institute, where he went at noon, and stressed that in this case conclusions must be drawn quickly and solutions need to be found.

“A very sad day today, with the tragedy that happened here this morning. What I can say is that I am very sorry. I send my condolences to the grieving families, and I wish those who have been here in the rooms a speedy recovery,” said the head of state at the Matei Bals Institute.

He pointed out that the intervention in case of the fire was very complicated and stressed that a reform of the sanitary system is needed.

 

PM Citu urges investment resources to avoid tragedies such as fire at Matei Bals Hospital

 

Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Friday that the shortcomings of the Romanian healthcare system were also reflected in the case of the recent fire tragedy at the Matei Bals hospital, emphasising that there is a need to allocate as many resources as possible for investment.

“The shortcomings of the Romanian healthcare system have made their presence felt even today (…) in this tragedy. Although important resources have been allocated to this sector – last year alone, almost 65 billion lei were allocated that was 6.1% of the GDP – only a very small part of the money has been allocated to investment. It is time for everyone to understand that we cannot go on like this. We cannot spend 90%, 95% of resources only on wages and pay bonuses; we need to allocate more and more resources for investment in order to avoid such tragedies in the future,” Citu said at the Government House on Friday at the end of a government meeting.

 

 

Compiled from Agerpres

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