Ex-manager, famous plastic surgeon from Floreasca Hospital, indicted in the ‘hyperbaric chamber’ corruption case

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Two former hospital heads have been sent to court by the anti-corruption prosecutors for abuse of office in the case of the equipment of the care unit for burnt at Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest.

Former manager of Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest, Radu Macovei and Ioan Lascar, famous plastic surgeon, former head of the Plastic Surgery Clinic in the same hospital, have been indicted in the criminal file related to the fact that the ward for burnt of the hospital is not functional.

Prosecutors say that in 2013, the defendants Radu Macovei and Ioan Lascar along with the head of the hospital’s public procurement office at that time, Marina Gontariu, have clinched with Gemedica private company an agreement based on a fictitious auction. Based on this agreement, 54 medical devices needed to equip the ward for burnt have been purchased, by breaking the public procurement law and at overrated prices.

Investigators also say that the defendants’ actions have caused a prejudice of RON 8 million to the hospital.

The case was revealed after the tragic Colectiv fire that claimed 64 lives and left 100 injured, when the Romanian hospitals were unable to manage the growing number of burnt people despite the fact that Floreasca Hospital had a brand new special ward for burnt, but which was not operational.

Prosecutors started in rem prosecution for abuse of office in this case in 2016 after the Health Ministry’s control body had found more irregularities at the Floreasca Hospital’s ward for burnt people. In July last year, the case has been taken over by the National Anti-corruption Directorate.

The ward for burnt patients within Floreasca Hospital had been commissioned thrice in the past six years. Opened for the first time in 2010 after an investment of EUR 9 M, the ward remained non-operating due to the medical staff shortage. A second inauguration was missed in April 2015 and a third one led to the hospital management’s removal.

The unit’s construction lasted eight years and it was only in 2010 when a special pure air device has been fixed. Another six years were needed for the medical furnishing to be purchased.

The ward for burnt of the Floreasca Hospital has six rooms with unique devices in Romania, where six patients with severe burns could be treated at the same time. After the Colectiv fire tragedy, the deadlock was revealed and generated a public scandal, for the injured with severe burns could not be admitted to that ward.

A Health ministry’s check revealed early last year that the employees were not all at work at the ward for burnt, as many of them were also working in other wards, in the intensive care unit or at the plastic surgery ward.

The money to build and equip the ward for burnt came from the World Bank, Health Ministry and the District 1 city hall.

The new ward for burnt patients also hosted a hyperbaric chamber, with the former Health minister Vlad Voiculescu disclosing last year that the hyperbaric chamber worth RON 3.4 M could not be used for the burns’ treatment, but it had been designed for antiageing procedures or for skin revigoration and not for treating serious burns.

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