Romanien: Erzsebet Turos

Considering the disastrous situation of care when I first started working here, we have made progress and to me the future looks optimistic.

— Erzsebet Turos

Erzsebet Turos has worked as a general practitioner in a psychiatric hospital in Borsa in Cluj county, Romania, for several years. When Dr. Turos arrived, the hospital was pure horror and passive euthanasia was repeatedly taking place. Dr. Turos is highly appreciated by the 230 patients for her care and help. She has instituted occupational therapy and social activities where before there were none. Since December 2002, she has been cooperating with the German association Beclean e.V, which was founded by the staff of a psychiatric hospital in southern Germany to provide help to Romania.

Erzsebet Turos has been working in the psychiatric hospital in Borsa for the past nine years. When she started to work, there were 215 chronic psychiatric patients with different diagnoses: schizophrenia, alcoholism, epilepsy, and dementia. For these patients there were only two doctors: a psychiatrist who is also the general director of the hospital and another general physician, a woman who left the hospital shortly after Dr. Turos arrived. Since then, no other physician has come to work in Borsa. The hospital is in an old castle, which belonged to a family of barons before the communist era. It is the only chronic psychiatric hospital in Cluj county. The situation of the building was terrible when Dr. Turos arrived and still is today. Although it needs to be renovated completely both inside and out, this is not permitted as it is an historical monument. There are several large unhealthy rooms with many beds (15 to 20 in a room), without their own bathrooms. This forces the patients to live together, without privacy, resulting in daily arguments. “When I started to work here, I was touched by the situation of Borsa: disastrous rooms and a bad smell. However, I felt sympathy for the patients, so I focused on what I had to do. Even today, it is very difficult to work in these conditions," Dr. Turos says. Borsa is a small village, and like most Romanian villages, it has a very poor infrastructure. There is no functioning water system. And it is 100 percent dependent on rain water. In these conditions, it is very difficult to maintain hygiene. Scabies and lice are common. Borsa is also very isolated, in every sense of the word. The distance to Cluj-Napoca, the closest city, is only 45 km, but there is only a secondary county road, which is in very bad condition. “All these issues together,” Dr. Turos says, "are the reason why no new doctors come to work in Borsa.”

Psychiatric Hospital Borsa