2004 Visit Reports
Spring Survey Report
Andy Walker and Alan Hughes visited during April. The most noticeable observation from this trip was that Nurse Stoica was not pushing for major project work, but, without actually saying so, implying basics such as food and fuel were their major concern.
They received little or no fuel during January. The injector burner had broken down due to the low level of fuel causing sludge and residue to clog the filters. This had now been repaired but the capacity reduced. For two weeks when temperatures were -16c they had no wood and had to obtain it from the forests just to keep the stoves going to cook the food. There was also a three day period when they had no wood or fuel.
Little food was available. For a couple of months they had basically been living off basic home made soups, potatoes, rice and a small amount of bread. There had been no vegetables or fruit for a long time. Occasionally there were free donations, but they were very rare. Patients had been collecting nettles and plants from the forests just to make their own soups and teas. In theory the authorities are supposed to provide £1 per day per patient for provisions, but this had not been received.
There were 140 patients and 140 beds. There is a waiting list of about 40, and as a patient passes away or is moved on, they are immediately replaced. About 110 of the patients are schizophrenic which needs their 'funding' goes direct to Brasov authorities and is never seen by the hospital. There are currently only 11 paying patients. Patients appeared to be in reasonable spirits but Stoica was worried they will suffer due to the lack of food.
There are still minimal medicines available. Fluanxsol is their main need, but they have few tablets left. Medicines are not being delivered from Brasov as promised. The mortality rate in 2003 was comparatively low, only 7 deaths, most over the age of 70.
The Dentist had advised the Hospital he was not coming back, and they have not heard from him since January.
There appear to be sufficient nurses, with others waiting to join, although currently there are no vacancies. The Doctor from Brasov is meant to visit at least once a week, but this rarely happens.
The are few sheets and blankets, with a desperate requirement for more. The Dutch team appear to have got some through Customs recently so it is worth us trying as well. Clothes and shoes are also desperately short. The hospital would prefer fewer, but of a higher quality. A recent donation of cheap pyjamas only lasted a couple of months.
Basic internal maintenance is being performed by the male patients. There are currently sufficient cleaning and disinfectant materials. There are no replacement light bulbs. Fencing around the hospital is due to be replaced in the near future.
Projects for the coming Summer team were discussed, with the following identified - Repair of radiators in the flat - a second shelter at the front of the hospital - repair the benches in the dining room - repair the windows in the mortuary - review the electric stove - repair the buttresses - repair the sewage hole - repair the external electrical box - provide toilet seats for the ladies wards - fix the valves on the washing machine - repair the drainage pipe at the school.
We had an excellent bar-b-que (yes in spring) with one of the nurses, Manoara and her husband at their home in Vulcan. This was a lovely gesture considering it was Palm Sunday. We also identified an amazing little wine cellar run from the property, definitely worth a future visit.
Due to the current plight of the patients we felt we had to do something immediately. We made a personal donation of basic foods to the kitchen which would provide them with some good meals up to Easter. We signed the proper donation declaration form emphasing this was personal and did not reflect a change in policy by the charity. We then presented each patient with some fruit and sweets, which from the expression on many of their faces, was much appreciated.
We also have to mention the weather. Five days of warm sunshine, between 15-20c. Totally unexpected, but made the trip more enjoyable.
Summer Visit Report
The team for this Summer visit was smaller than usual, and as such the projects undertaken were not as extensive as in some previous years. A summary of the work performed is detailed below.
|The broken downpipe made good|
|The outlet from septic tank located and unblocked|
|The broken pipework was replaced|
|The damaged cover to the septic tank was made good.|
The Hospital Exterior
|The missing manhole cover was replaced|
|Minor repairs to the buttresses were undertaken|
|A second shelter was built|
|The first shelter was repainted|
The Hospital Interior
|The problem with the washing machine valves was resolved|
|Minor repair work to the spin dryer was performed|
|A hot water tank was sourced, installed and commissioned in the kitchen|
|A second computer was installed in the Nurses office|
The Flat and Sewing Room
|The copper pipework was replaced with flexible pipe.|
|The downstairs radiators were removed and transported to the welder for repair|
|The radiators were re-installed and pressure tested.|
|The loft was tidied|
|The balcony railings were repainted|
|The balcony door was refurbished|
|A water supply was provided to the food storage area and a wash basin installed|
|Only limited time could be spent with the patients|
|Soft drinks and fruit were provided to all patients on the final day.|
|For the first time (to our knowledge) we observed the hospital maintenance|
staff working together as a cohesive group. Throughout the time of our
visit they were engaged making good and painting the exterior walls to the
Hospital and other buildings.
|We had the unsettling experience of two funerals that impacted on us|
|We took the welder and his daughter out for a meal|
Probable Future Work
|Enhance/upgrade water supply to hospital. (This would be a joint project|
with the hospital staff).
|Proper refurbishment of kitchen walls and ceiling (again, pressure from|
"on high" to sort this issue or "we may close you down")
|Radiator for the Pharmacist's room.|
|Boundary wall at School to be made safe|
|Early warning that the School will request a photocopier|
|The Charity is no longer required to provide funding for Costica|
Winter Visit Report
Members John Anyon and Andy Walker made the Christmas visit this year, and for the first time it was decided to try and stay in the flat rather than in Brasov, despite the winter conditions. A new electric radiator was purchased to provide heat. Istvan installed it on the Saturday morning, so when we arrived on Saturday evening, there was a level of heat, but we were glad we had brought our high grade sleeping bags. Within a couple of hours we had managed to get all electrics and plumbing working and had running water.
By Sunday morning, the emersion was providing us with plenty of hot water, and we decided we could survive the whole week in the flat. Sunday was the usual settling in day. We did a provisions run to the Metro, spent some time with the patients, and also a bit of time in the bar with the locals. We were also around on the day for one of the biggest changes in politics since Ceacescu, when Basescu, a more Western European biased politician was elected the new President. We will have to wait and see how that affects life in Romania, and also the work of our charity.
On the Monday, we met with Nurse Stoica, and the 'new' Doctor, Dima Eugen. The Doctor had reasonable English.
From the meeting the following was identified :
|Fuel was still limited, but it was not an issue the NNRT could get involved in due to politics and cost|
|They were happy for us to try out the paint in the Kitchen and review the results.|
|They were happy for the PC in the Nurses office to be upgraded.|
|They again agreed to us filming where and when we wanted.|
|Food etc. The situation was again serious, with little available with the exception of potatoes, although there was a businessman in Brasov who was sponsoring some meat donation at the moment. We again offered to purchase some basic requirements for the hospital, and asked them to state what was most important to them.|
|Patient Christmas Gifts. There are 143 patients, 79 men and 64 women. Stoica specifically requested we try and include a pair of socks for each of the patients.|
|The ECG Monitor. It had not been used by the new Doctor as there was no power adaptor. On investigation, it did have the adaptor, and proved to be working.|
Kindergarten Christmas Play
|The weather was good to us, although cloudy and murky for the first 2-3 days, we then had some bright (although cold) days, and only got rain on the Saturday we departed. Snow was laying around the village, and in Bushteni and Sinaia, but Brasov and Codlea were clear. Temperatures ranged from about freezing to -15 overnight. The speed of change was astounding though, highlighted by the last night when we trawled back from the bar at about -15, then 8 hours later woke up to +5 and rain !|
|The Flat proved perfectly acceptable for the visit. It also provided the additional convenience of being located where we wanted to work, rather than having to travel from Brasov each day.|
|The car was again in a relatively poor state. The rear boot struts failed again during the visit, and the rear suspension is still not good. There is no doubt the road to Mina contributes to this, but more considerate driving on this road would help maintain the limited lifespan of the car.|
|We had a nice meal out with Istvan and Enoka in the Hunters restaurant near the bottom of the cable car. The taxi ride back to Mina made us realise how poor the suspension on the NNRT Dacia is.|
|When we departed the flat, the electrical fuse was removed, the plumbing drained, and the stop cock enabled to prevent freezing pipes|