Baby Killers: Part 2


Well time for a little update on yesterday’s post because I found some additional information. To begin with, it looks like TVR did send a camera crew down to the hospital to get some footage and do (slightly) some more follow-up so bravo to them at least for that (the other networks did nothing more than mention the original article).

TVR also interviewed Alison Mutler, whom you can see below completely butchering the Romanian language LMFAO (she’s been here 20 fucking years!!):

An interesting fact from the good doctor himself is that he is flying these babies to Romanian doctors who work in these other countries. What?? Unless I’m completely wrong it seems like he is saying that for four years now he has been paid (by the Romanian government) at roughly “10 times” the price to fly these infants to Italy, Germany and Austria so they can get surgical care from ethnic Romanian doctors who work for those country’s governments (public doctors).

Now does that seem fishy to you? Are there no Italian doctors in Italy who do neonatal surgery? Sounds to me like Ye Olde Heroic Doctor found himself a comfortable little situation where he gets his own government to fly him to nice countries so he can hang around with his Romanian doctor pals (and I bet you 1 million bucks the ones doing the operations in Italy etc are his old friends from medical school). Complaining about the medical system here is just icing on the cake for him.

I also noticed that the Heroic Doctor is also the head of what in English we would call NICU or neonatal intensive care unit. I saw zero mention of his two doctor colleagues. But this guy is the head of the unit so who is authorizing these (10 times the price) operations in other countries? Is he himself the one who is doing it? In other words, as chief of the department is he in essence stamping the paperwork to bill the Romanian government to fly these babies to Italy or wherever? And all of this so that the work can be done by his Romanian colleagues, who theoretically get no kickback of any kind from this?

Frankly on a personal level I don’t like the fact that this supposed “lonely crusade” heroic doctor cannot even face the camera when he’s being interviewed. Here is his big chance to be on TV to talk about the systemic problems in public healthcare in Romania (which are real) and he’s off looking over to the side like there’s a football match that’s more interesting.

Meanwhile in totally unrelated news, I found this story (Romanian) about how many Serbians are coming to Romania to get surgery because the price is so much better. What? I thought Romania’s medical system was a total failure. Oh oops, looks like it’s far better than in Serbia and “four times” cheaper than in Hungary. And don’t tell me some poor Serbians are bribing the doctors in Romania for these operations either because that makes zero sense. Nope, looks like they’re getting top quality surgery and it’s being paid for the normal way – from the government healthcare system.

Hopa!

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5 Responses »

  1. Sam, i’m affraid to become very seek in Romania,most of the romanians pray to the Lord for health,and not to going in romanian hospitals.
    No comment,you understand now why…

  2. It seems to this reader that the so-called “King of Romania” has once again let his unhealthy obsession with trashing Alison Mutler blind him to a few obvious points. The first is the one that the Western press does not usually focus on matters going as they should, but rather acts like a “spotlight” on problematic areas of society and governance. Whatever the ins-and-outs of the cardiac hospital’s labor policies and personnel problems, the doctor profiled is trying to do what he can to solve an immediate problem—saving babies lives. Second, as the reporting shows, he and everyone else involved well knows his actions reflect a system’s dysfunction. Surely, all realize that it would be better by far to have local Romanian staff to operate the cardiac unit, but for whatever reason—perhaps labor shortages, given that such qualified folks can work abroad for much higher pay–it isn’t working now. Third, why though, and on precious little evidence—do you libel the doctor only on the basis of your personal cynical speculation? (Putting aside the old canard [culturally biased by the way] that he was not looking the camera straight on [looking at the interviewer, perhaps, instead?] as a sole measure of honesty?)

    In short, do you not agree that the story, whatever its shortcomings, will serve to raise awareness and thus aid in the solving of the pointed-out problem, as, for example, having funds for hiring staff at the Marie Curie hospital freed up? Or, do you think maintaining Romania’s “image” and/or upholding some Platonic republic of foreigners acting virtuously abroad trumps saving actual people?

    In the end, I would rather share the fallen world we have with the likes of AM rather than a perfected heaven with the persona reflected here (I trust the actual person behind these misdirected missives is more knowledgeable and likable.)

  3. Sam, there are some important points that you seem to have skipped – in Romania, every year some 1500 babies are born with heart problems. There are 2 hospitals – Marie Curie from Bucharest and the one from Targu Mures – where those babies can have surgery. But in these 2 hospitals they are already working extra and they can just do some hundreds of surgeries each year. Taking into consideration that in the past 5 years more and more doctors are leaving Romania for a better paycheck and life – that doctor that came back from Nice is a real hero cause she left a 4000 euro paycheck for one of 400. it’s a -3000 between the doctors that have left Romania and the residents graduating. (http://www.debanat.ro/2012/03/exodul-medicilor-nu-da-semne-de-incetinire/)
    Than there is the stupid “state policy” that says that you can employ 1 person after firing/retiring 7 persons.
    So they have that brand new neonatal care unit but thay can not employ medical staff because the law do not allow them to and they do not have surgeons (because they have left the country or there are not enough qulified doctors in this field, or there are not eneogh residents on this field – even in Romania the students are choosing more lucrative medical fields like plastic or anaesthetis or easy to work in like family or general medicine).
    The point is there is a lose-lose situation and the blame is not on that doctor that is really trying to do his best on the sistem.
    And last but not least, that same story has been told on other tv channels but not on the Allison Mutler bribe style, yet on the lack of coherence of today’s medical policies that the government has had in the last 4 years.

    • I didn’t “skip” these things, quite frankly there are numerous problems with Romania’s medical system as you stated very well yourself. I mostly wrote about this story because nobody needs Alison Mutler’s style of blaming the ordinary person instead of investigating what are the root causes of these problems.

      • The article says that children who could have heart surgery in Romania at the cardiac unit at the Marie Curie hospital instead of flying abroad for surgery are the victims here. They are the ordinary people. As far as I understand the article explains that doctors are leaving in their thousands every year and one of the reasons is that wages are low and culturally, bribes are accepted. The system is dysfunctional. Even the health minister said bribes would be hard to eradicate. Like many a columnist, I think Sam likes stirring.

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