A series of videos posted on social media by an opposition lawmaker has brought to light inadequate conditions and overcrowding in Romania's mental-health facilities just days after a man killed four patients in a psychiatric hospital.
"I've never seen something like this, not even in horror movies," Emanuel Ungureanu, a lawmaker from the Save Romania Union (USR), wrote on his Facebook page, where he posted footage from the Borsa psychiatric hospital in northern Romania.
"In a 200-year-old building, 179 people with psychiatric problems have been crammed in insalubrious wards...22 patients in one room, an inferno of misery, impossible to describe in words, unimaginable!" Ungureanu wrote.
In the videos, holes in the ceiling can be seen inside, while crumbling outside walls appear to be infiltrated by water.
Beds crammed in small rooms and dirty bathrooms can also be seen in the videos.
The footage was posted days after a 38-year-old man allegedly killed four other patients and wounded nine on August 18 in a mental-health hospital in Sapoca, in eastern Romania. The man had used a transfusion stand to bludgeon his victims after flying into a rage.
Health Minister Sorina Pintea has promised checks on all psychiatric hospitals in Romania in light of the incident, and pledged to put together a "blacklist" of mental-health facilities that have failed to implement better conditions despite benefiting from government funding.
Romania drew the world's attention shortly after the fall of communism in December 1989 when shocking images of orphans, especially handicapped children and babies with AIDS, were broadcast around the world.
Although the situation has improved since 1990, Romania still has one of the EU's least-developed medical infrastructures due to weak public administration, corruption, and bureaucracy, despite billions of euros in EU funding.
The leftist government has repeatedly put off the construction of three new regional hospitals for which the EU has allocated funds.