An opera star and the health crisis

Romania spends less on healthcare than any other country in the European Union - and because of the worst recession on record, it is planning to spend even less. Hospitals are running out of money and drugs and doctors are leaving the country in droves.

Amelia Antoniu may be one of Romania's leading operetta singers, but she knows all about the problems with her country's medical system. She went in for a routine operation, and nearly died of major organ failure after contracting a serious infection.

The manager of the CF2 hospital in Bucharest where Amelia was treated was sacked after the incident. The new manager told the BBC that certain irregularities had taken place which must be addressed.

He called the incident regrettable, but said the infection could not have occurred during surgery as the germ that caused Amelia's condition was not very virulent. He said the germ had previously been unknown in Romania and similar cases had arisen in three other hospitals.

Amelia is now recuperating in a small village outside Bucharest, from where she told Crossing Continents reporter Oana Lungescu her story.

Release date: 12 Aug 2010

3 minutes

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