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Saturday, 14 Nov

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban attended the crisis cell meeting convened at the Internal Affairs Ministry headquarters, following the fire that broke out at the ICU section of the Piatra Neamt County Hospital

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, Secretary of State Raed Arafat, Secretary of State and Chief Quaestor of Police Bogdan Despescu, and the Head of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU)Dan Paul Iamandi, after attending the crisis cell meeting convened at the Internal Affairs Ministry headquarters, following the fire that broke out at the ICU section of the Piatra Neamt County Hospital

 

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Ludovic Orban: Good morning! The news of the tragedy that occurred in Piatra Neamț shocked me. I want to offer my condolences to the bereaved families and I also want to praise the heroic doctor’s great courage and spirit of sacrifice in attempting to save the patients when the fire broke out. As soon as I found out, I contacted all the heads of institutions involved in managing this situation to inform me in order to find out exactly all the steps that have been taken, with Minister Tataru, with Secretary of State Raed Arafat, with Mr Secretary of State Despescu; I also discussed with Minister Ciucă and came at the Intervention Command Center to be with the colleagues, so that we can make all the decisions that are required in this situation. At present, we can tell you that the military plane provided by the Ministry of Defence landed in Bucharest,  the doctor will be taken to Floreasca Emergency Hospital and will be prepared to be transferred to the " Queen Astrid" Military Hospital in Belgium. I thank Secretary of State Arafat for his immediate intervention, through which we managed to get the acceptance of the military hospital, although because of the COVID /… / pandemic,  they usually do not accept to treat patients from other countries. However, the approval of the Ministry of Defense was obtained very quickly and we can, during this morning, after 7:00 am, to transport the heroic doctor with a military aircraft, provided by the Ministry of Defence. I wish him good health, strength and I pray for his rapid recovery. Also, the patients for whom the transfer was organized, reached the modular hospital in Lețcani. I specify that their transport was carried out by highly equipped ambulances, alongside a medical crew composed of an emergency doctor and a nurse, so that given the transport posed risks, they can benefit from the best medical care during their transfer. I invite Secretary of State Arafat to give you a brief summary of the intervention.

Raed Arafat: Thank you, Prime Minister. So the call came around 7 p.m. Firefighters arrived at the scene with the intervention crews together with the Neamț Ambulance Service in five minutes. The intervention was also carried out from outside and inside with search-rescue teams, and from outside using a ladder platform and other stairs that the firefighters used to assist in extinguishing the fire and including removing patients from the respective medical wards- here search and rescue teams entered from inside with special equipment that allows them to act in the toxic environment, in the smoke, using insulating devices. Unfortunately, eight patients were found dead in one of the two wards, and two other people who were already in critical condition after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 died during evacuations to the acute admissions unit. Six other people, still in serious condition, some of them - two intubated, two on non-invasive ventilation and two only on oxygen - were evacuated to the acute admissions unit, where they were stabilized. After that, also in parallel with the sending of the teams from the fire brigade, ISU Neamț and SAJ Neamț, we decided to mobilize more medical crews from Iași, from SMURD Iași, with mobile intensive care crews and emergency doctors, from the Iași Military Hospital, which provided a mobile intensive care ambulance, and from Bacău, where a car with multiple victims was sent. As the Prime Minister said, the people who had been evacuated to acute medical units plus another person who was at the acute medical unit and needed intensive care, were transferred to Lețcani Hospital - six people, and another person was transferred to Pașcani Hospital. The doctor was taken by a mobile intensive care ambulance and was transferred directly to Iasi airport, then to Bucharest, with a military aircraft. Now he will receive care in Bucharest and he will be transported by a military aircraft, alongside SMURD crew, to Brussels tomorrow. Therefore, I can only thank my colleagues from the fire department for their prompt intervention, my colleagues from the Ambulance, my colleagues from SMURD for the way they intervened and, at this moment, all the patients reached safely their destination for further medical care.

Ludovic Orban: Allow me, Secretary of State Bogdan Despescu.

Bogdan Despescu: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. The investigation, in this case, was taken over by the General Prosecutor’s Office. Two prosecutors were designated from the General Prosecutor’s Office, they came on the site. They are supported in their investigation by policemen from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, National Institute of Forensics. My colleagues from Neamt Police Inspectorate informed the families of the ten victims and at the same time, the family of the six patients who were transferred to Iasi.

We logistically further support all transfers to hospitals, medical units, for rapid transport.

Ludovic Orban: Thanks. General Iamandi.

Dan –Paul Iamandi: Thank you, Prime Minister. First of all, I would like to state that this intervention was a very difficult one, given its characteristics, it is an intervention in an intensive care department, where there were many intubated or ventilated patients,  as well as because of the fact that it was a very big smoke release, black smoke that made the intervention very difficult. It is worth mentioning, again, that this intervention lasted about 20 minutes, so the time was very short. More than 150 people and about 35 means of intervention acted on the site, meaning ASAS fire extinguishers, water and foam trucks, high-altitude trucks and ambulances, of course. I would also like to mention that, since last night, immediately after the fire was extinguished, we ordered two committees to be set up, one that will conduct the investigation and establish the cause of the fire as soon as possible, as the prosecutor will allow access inside and the second committee, which is likely to start working as of this morning, will deal with the on-site verification of compliance with the terms of authorization, to see if certain changes have been lately made in that intensive care unit, which would have required this document, fire safety authorization from the Neamț Inspectorate. Thank you.

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