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MDRI Report - Authorities Admit the Auschwitz in Braila

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Autor: Adriana Oprea-Popescu Ionela Gavriliu 12 Mai 2006 - 00:00
MDRI Report  -  Authorities Admit the Auschwitz in Braila


The Romanian authorities that jumped to blaming the former Government on the MDRI report have started to admit the fact that the Americans could be right. The images with the 46 children in the Auschwitz in Braila haven’t been caught on camera in 2004, but one year later…

In June 2004, the month that the authorities are referring to when they blame the former Government, the "Saint Pantelimon" Psychiatry Hospital in Braila actually received the visit of a NGO. They were not the representatives of "Mental Disability Right International", but the ones of the "Centre for Juridical Resources". As a matter of fact, the MRDI report even says this: "In June 2005, an investigation team from MRDI, together with the Centre for Juridical Resources, a non-governmental organization that monitors the psychiatry institutions in Romania, has taken into account the abusive conditions under which 46 children from the "Saint Pantelimon" Psychiatry Hospital in Braila were kept. A few months before the MRDI visit, CJR had filed a written complaint to present the situation to the national authorities for the child protection, but they had not received any answer".

CJR REPORT

The next lines contain fragments from the monitoring report written after the visit on the 21st of June 2004 of the team of the Plea for Dignity Program of CJR Bucharest. "The exterior department of the psychiatry hospital for the invalid children. There are 50 children in this department and their ages are between 3 and 18. They all suffer from confirmed neuro-psychiatric illnesses. The building has no inscription of the hospital and there are no signs on the walls saying it hosts an external department of the psychiatry hospital. The staff of the external department for invalid children has one doctor specialized in infantile neuropsychiatry, a shrink hired and paid by the White Cross Association, two educators, seven nurses (four in the morning, two in the afternoon, one during the night). (…) There are seven children in the first room, and the second room hosts four more. Half of the children in this room have their hands and/or legs tied with straps or cords to the bars of the beds. There are children that show signs of self mutilation as well as bruises and signs of aggression that couldn’t have come from them. All the children are placed horizontally, but they can stand up with help. There are also some children in here that show the fact that their wet underwear had not been changed in time".

TIED

"There are 17 patients in the second ward. They also show signs of physical aggression and some of them are tied with straps or laces to the protective bars of the beds. The third ward hosts four patients. One of the patients (8 years old) has her hands and feet tied with straps to the protective bars of the bed. One of the 14 patients in the ward at the ground floor had their feet tied up for not to be able to move, their bare feet were staying on the wet floor and it was almost dark in there. An educator and a nurse were in the room, but they were not doing anything for the patients. We couldn’t find out whether the children were ever taken out. The neuro-psychiatrist present in the external department when we visited the hospital stated that the problems at this department could be solved with the help of some funds from the authorities and by hiring more educators and nurses." In August 2004, CJR sued the "Saint Pantelimon" Psychiatry Hospital because the institution had not given public data to the foundation. The public sentence on the 16th of May 2005 has forced the hospital to communicate the requested data. In June 2005, the Psychiatry Hospital in Braila received the visit of an investigation team from MDRI.

FOR THE RECORD

The authorities now take the credit for having saved the children in Braila from the chaos they had been living in. However, the Americans don’t agree with it. "MDRI and CJR have told the authorities about the terrifying situation of these children. After this, they had been moved into two smaller institutions. With the support from UNICEF, CJR asked for the help of Mrs. Karen Green McGowan, expert in the problems of the children with complex intellectual disabilities. Besides her observation, she made a plan for the rehabilitation of each child in the institution. According to Karen Green McGowan, these children don’t need medical institutionalization."

MDRI got back in Romania in 2005. "During this short period of time, the children have gained a lot of weight. Their life has certainly been saved by this intervention, as MDRI admits. However, all these children are still institutionalized. The recommendations of Mrs. McGowan for each child were yet to be translated into Romanian."…

Translated by Sorin Balan
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