The County Hospital in Piatra-Neamt where ten died and others were injured in a fire broken in the intensive care unit lacked the operating permit from the County Health Directorate to reconfigure the intensive care unit.
The Directorate of Public Health (DSP) Neamt management said in a press release that the ICU section of the Piatra-Neamt County Emergency Hospital was reconfigured on the day of the fire without seeking an opinion.
“In order to increase the capacity of the ICU section for COVID-19 positive patients the functional circuits on the second floor were modified by building a wall. Positive patients were to be treated here in two eight-bed wards. Up to that point, positive patients were being treated on the third floor. For these changes, the health unit did not seek the opinion of the Neamt Public Health Directorate. The reconfiguration of the ICU section and the relocation of positive COVID patients from the third floor to the second floor was carried out without notice on November 14, 2020. The Piatra Neamt County Emergency Hospital and any sanitary unit with beds have the obligation to request and obtain, prior to the intervention of any modification, either by structure or by functional circuits, the opinion of the County Public Health Directorates,” the DSP Neamt release reads.
In hit urn, PM Ludovic Orban said that construction work was carried out at the County Hospital in Piatra Neamt without the opinion of the Directorate of Public Health (DSP) and the State Inspection for the Control of Boilers, Pressure Containers and Lifting Facilities (ISCIR).
However, the hospital management replied in a press release that the ICU section has had an opinion from DSP Neamt, and the changes made to extend it were made in a different area from the one where the fire occurred.
The head of the ICU section Liviu Ungureanu told Digi 24 that the fire started from a syringe pump, the flame reached the anti-COVID jumpsuit of a nurse and from there to the beds. He said that the medical staff from ICU intervened with the fire extinguishers from the ward, but the flames were too strong.
President Iohannis: Profound reform of the public health system needed
The “terrible” accident in Piatra Neamt has proved, 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 Romanian President underlined that lessons must be learned to prevent such accidents from ever happening again.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic 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.