Bucharest, RO (NursingSalary.org) – Registered Nurse, Florentina Cirstea at Giulesti Maternity Hospital, was charged with five counts of murder after failing to supervise the newborns in the ICU unit. She allegedly left the room for twelve minutes when a fire broke out, killing five of the eleven newborns and severely injuring the other six.
Prosecutors’ preliminary reports say the fire started due to improper wiring of an air-conditioning device. A majority of the medical staff were in another room at the time of the incident, apparently having a celebration. The nurse’s testimony seems rather bogus, to say the least, considering the fact that the room had reached a whopping 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit), which is impossible to have happened in only twelve minutes.
Surveillance camera footages show the medical staff trying to break down the door to the burning ICU room, since it could have only been opened with an access card held by Cirstea, who was nowhere to be found. The automatic doors were finally broken with a chair. According to the surveillance video, she had already left the room several times on that day, before the incident. Another member of the medical staff called 112 (the European emergency line) when the blaze was discovered. Videos appear to contradict Cirstea’s statement, who said she “was unable to evacuate the room”—she wasn’t near the ICU room for another couple of minutes after evacuation began.
Cirstea’s lawyer mentioned, in her defense, that there should have been three nurses on that shift, not only one, and tries to put the blame on the management of the medical facility and, in general, the Romanian health system for the lack of personnel in hospitals throughout the country. Also, a specialized company that does the maintenance for all electrical equipment in the hospital had checked the air conditioners in that room only a few days before the incident.
Cirstea is to remain under police custody for another 29 days for further investigation. She has officially been charged with multiple counts of murder and failing to fulfill duties on her job. If found guilty, she is facing up to 15 years of prison.
Officials said it was too soon to evaluate the condition of the six burned babies. However, some of the infants who had only suffered minor burns are quickly recovering and may soon return home.