A Romanian court says a top surgeon who’s charged with taking a 10,000 euro bribe had a history of taking money from underqualified medics in exchange for jobs at an elite medical institution.
The surgeon, Mircea Beuran, was placed under house arrest last week pending an investigation into whether he took the kickback promising that he’d help a trainee doctor get a job at a top medical school.
The court said on Monday it had electronic evidence of Beuran accepting the bribe. The trainee doctor reported the bribe after the position at the Carol Davila University didn’t become available. There has been no comment from Beuran.
The Bucharest Court said this was one reason they ordered Beuran to remain under house arrest for 30 days pending the investigation
Beuran’s supporters have argued that the measure is too harsh as he isn’t a public danger. Others say charges against him are politically motivated, and as one of the country’s best-known surgeons, he should be spared prosecution.
But the court said Beuran offered important positions at the Carol Davila University to insufficiently qualified medics “for his own benefit.”
“This qualifies as a deed of extreme gravity which affects the efficiency and safety of the public health system,” they said. “Medics who want these positions have access to these jobs based on pecuniary reasons, not professional competence.”
“Through his actions, he turned a public institution of prestige into his own business as a source of illicit income.”
The court added “a lack of a firm reaction from authorities” resulted in tacit approval to such practices ”strengthening the belief that only by purchasing the goodwill of decision makers they can get jobs which are unobtainable for honest people.”
The anti-corruption prosecutors’ agency said Beuran took the alleged bribe in 2018 when he held a senior position in the Carol Davila Medicine and Pharmacy University in Bucharest.
Beuran was head of surgery at the Floreasca Hospital until he was dismissed last month after a woman died after she was set on fire during an operation.
Beuran was not in the operating room at the time, but was in charge of the operation.
Beuran was health minister from 2003 to 2004, who was forced to resign over accusations of plagiarism. Beuran also acted as an adviser to former President Ion Iliescu.