Update: Late on Sunday, the doctor was placed under house arrest.
The chief of the orthopedics ward of the Marie Curie Pediatrics Hospital, Gheorghe Burnei, a renowned orthopedics surgeon in Bucharest and Romania, has been detained for 24 hours on Saturday night, with a request for preventive arrest for 30 days pending on Sunday.
The renowned doctor was detained after being heard for several hours at the National Anti-corruption Directorate. Burnei was also present at his office at the hospital and at home when investigators conducted searches.
He is charged of bribe taking for several surgeries and also of performing some unauthorized surgeries on children.
Prosecutors claim that Burnei would have implanted uncertified ceramics devices in several children’s bodies, fragments of cow bones and pieces of tank filters, while he would have used bolts from the market in some cases, judicial sources told News.ro. Burnei used to say parents who came to him to operate their children that he is the only doctor in the world who can do certain surgeries, he gave them the impression he is always busy and that he would do them a favor if accepting their case. The same sources revealed that the orthopedist used to recommend surgery although he knew that those deficiencies could not by corrected.
Investigators discovered human bones and tissues in the doctor’s frigde in his office at Maria Curie Hospital, which have been most probably prelevated from children. Some pieces of tissue were several years older, and were stored in unproper cnditions, together with food.
Prosecutors have also found out envelopes with money hidden in books in the doctor’s bookcase in the hospital.
“I have never taken money for surgeries,” Gheorghe Burnei stated when he arrived at Maria Curie Hospital to take part in the prosecutors’ searches.
The Bucharest Prosecutor’s Office informed that the Burnei’s file target 17 corruption crimes during October-November 2016, with the first denunciation being file on September 28.
Prosecutors explain that 17 people filed these denunciations, parents of the children whom Burnei has operated. The parents say the doctor has asked them for money to perform those surgeries, ranging from RON 1,000 to EUR 1,000. The parents testified in these cases, with other people who collaborated with the famous orthopedics surgeon also being heard.
The investigations also refer to some unauthorized surgeries that Burnei performed on several children.
A journalistic investigation revealed that Burnei performed an unauthorized surgery on a little girl when she was one year old and tested an unauthorized procedure on her which left the girl cripple. Her mother, Emilia Ionescu claims that the surgery made her daughter invalid. “He made some experiments on her. Eight doctors told me after the surgeries performed by Burnei that he butchered her,” says the woman, as quoted by ProTV. The girl, now aged 19, is now bed-ridden, cannot walk and has spent the last 4 years indoors.
At the same time, a new in rem file for murder attempt and murder has been opened after other parents have accused doctor Burnei of causing their children’s death by unauthorized experiments and of leaving them cripple.
A mother claims she has lost her 8-year-old daughter in 2013 because of the doctor. “Andreea died due to massive bleeding. He introduced a wrong bolt and the fat entered the arteries,” the woman told ProTV.
According to Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu, there is no complaint filed at the Doctors’ College against Burnei.