Romanian hospitals in crisis as emigration takes its toll
Thousands of doctors and nurses have left Romania in past decade, leading to dire staff shortages
Gabriela Dumitru was supposed to retire years ago, but instead, she’s working longer hours than ever before. The 65-year-old is one half of a team of two doctors at the neonatology ward in Slobozia, a depressed town about two hours’ drive from Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
Dumitru works three or four 24-hour shifts a week, catching an hour of sleep where possible on a sofa in a small box room decorated with pictures of kittens. Her colleague is 75, and he officially retired 15 years ago. Between them, they do the work of four or five doctors, delivering approximately 1,200 babies a year and caring for those born with difficulties or disabilities.