Too poor to afford proper equipment, Moldova doctors use power drill in surgery

MOLDOVA - A video of surgery conducted on a teenager with a power drill by doctors who claimed their state-run hospital could not afford the medical equivalent has caused an outcry in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.

Nikolai Kurka, the surgeon who performed the surgery later posted on the Internet and broadcast on Moldovan television, said he was one of 16 doctors who used home improvement tools in the absence of adequate equipment.

"We had to drill into the youth's elbow, so that's what we did," he told journalists. "This type of drill and these pliers are only inconvenient in that they are difficult to sterilise," he said.

The children's hospital in the capital of Chisinau had recently received three new drills designed for such surgery, Health Minister Andrei Ussatii said in response.

"I can't understand why they were using these tools," he added.

Prime Minister Iurie Leanca called for those responsible to be punished if necessary and ordered full inventories to be drawn up by every Moldovan hospital. New tools should be purchased where required, he said.

The hospital's head doctor said the video had been released by the surgical team in an attempt to discredit him.