These are hundreds of medical implants that would have been taken from corpses in order to be reused on living patients, outside of any legal and health framework. In Romania, a criminal investigation has been opened to dismantle this implant trafficking network, in which five doctors are suspected of having participated. One of them, who works in a hospital in Iași, the second largest city in Romania, in the northeast of the country, was detained pending the results of the investigation into the charges of abuse of power and payment of bribes. According to the prosecutors, this doctor supervised four others who gave him cardiac implants (of the pacemaker and defibrillator type), taken from deceased patients, without prior agreement from the latter or their families.
238 operations involving this type of illegal implants have reportedly been carried out by these health professionals since 2017. Sometimes of unknown provenance, transferred from one person to another in defiance of any rigorous medical procedure, these implants were likely to expose the recipients to serious complications, even putting them in danger of death. “A large portion of the doctor-recommended implants (…) were unnecessary and were motivated by false diagnoses or previously prescribed medications that would trigger specific symptoms,” prosecutors said in a statement .
Romania’s healthcare system, which is among the least developed in the European Union, is known to be plagued by corruption. The cost of health care in Romania represented in 2021 5.9% of GDP, one of the lowest rates in the European Union, whose average is 10.9%.