Romania probes five doctors suspected of reusing medical implants extracted from dead patients
Romania has opened a criminal investigation against five doctors suspected of reusing hundreds of medical implants extracted from dead patients. In a statement, the Romanian prosecutors said that one of the five doctors, working at a hospital in Iași city, was taken into custody pending investigation on charges of abuse of power and bribe-taking, news agency Reuters reported on Saturday (February 18).
The doctor, who has not been identified, oversaw a network of four other doctors who provided him with cardiac implants extracted from deceased patients without prior approval from them or their families, the prosecutors added. The doctor had performed 238 surgeries over seven years from 2017, by illegally using implants from dead patients or of unknown provenance and putting his patients at risk of serious complications or death, the prosecutors alleged.
They added that a large number of the implants recommended by the doctor was not necessary and was prompted by fake diagnoses or by specific symptoms deliberately triggered by previously prescribed medication.
For years, Romania's healthcare system has been plagued by corruption, inefficiencies and politicised management. Reuters reported on Saturday that tens of thousands of doctors (in Romania) and nurses have emigrated and the country spends the least on healthcare in the European Union (EU).
In July last year, the International Trade Administration (ITA) said the cost of healthcare in Romania in 2021 was $16.7 billion or $872.3 per person and 5.9 per cent of the GDP, one of the European Union's lowest per capita. The ITA said that despite attempts to promote primary care, the amount of health spending dedicated to primary and ambulatory care is the second lowest in the EU.
It added that numerous drug manufacturers also have operations in Romania, but in recent years, problems such as law-back tax and pricing concessions required by the National Health Insurance House (CNAS) have compelled businesses to remove their goods from the Romanian market, lay off employees, or scale back their operations in the country.