By Tareq Neman
In Adra there is an old building with a rusty iron gate; it is a gate to the strange and amazing world; a world full of secrets that force anyone to try remain silent and to hide the overwhelming corruption… The only thing you should do, is to walk in Ibn Sina hospital, to find out that something fogy is going on in the oldest mental hospital in the Middle East. This hospital, according to many doctors, turned to something like the place for exiles and a shelter, so the Directorate of Health in Damascus started to punish the disregarded nurses and workers to work in it. This was mentioned in the note under the title ’The Reality and History of Ibn Sina Hospital’, which has exposed the hidden files and documented the black history of this hospital, as a place, where all the basic rights of the patients were violated. Secrets, patients treated like prisoners and ambiguous tenders; these and more, are the hidden facts of Ibn Sina hospital In the year 2002, a presidential decree required to transform this hospital to an independent authority and to give the employees working there 100 percent of their salaries as a compensation for the dangerous nature of their work; this decree has been followed with another one, which redefined the hospital as an educational, surgical and service infirmary. However, according to the informed source, the administration of the hospital could not fulfill any of those decrees and the hospital remained as shelter; someone said that this situation is because of the fact that the manager of the hospital is a dentist, who remained in duty from 2003 to 2009, what was weird because there is no doctor, who could understand the needs of the mental patients, except the psychologist. Moreover, this administration worked hard to divide people, creating problems and misunderstandings among the doctors, in order to take control over everything in the hospital. In 2009 new doctor was hired as a manager and remained in this function only for five months. The employees said that the reason for his dismissal was that he refused to turn blind eye to the clear violations committed by the board of directorate, what will be discussed here later on. The new dismissed manager was honest and serious and the period of his management was successful and productive. After him came new manager, doctor ‘R.M’, who was former member of the directorate board. Now the neurologist ‘R.D’, who preferred to remain silent in front of everything around him, achieved his only merit, releasing the ordinance no. 809/W/D, which prevents accepting or graduating any patient after official working hours, as well as before getting the approval of the Medical Committee. The decree was rejected by the doctors working in the hospital, in order to prevent from the delay in case of the real emergency situations, as well as to prevent allowing the patients to go to the park, although it is considered as part of the treatment. The hospital consists of 4 wings and dormitories; each of them has many rooms. Each dormitory accommodates more than 35 patients. The room contains 12 beds, despite the fact that it was supposed to contain only 4 beds, as “putting too many patients in one room would negatively affect the patients”. One of the engineers working in the hospital said that it is not reasonable to put such a number of patients in one room, while the yearly budget of the hospital, which is around 50 million SYP, allows building new sections every year. The hospital suffers from the shortage of medical staff, both doctors and nurses, as there is only about 7 specialized doctors for 500 patients, what means that each doctor must treat approximately 80 patients. Doctor Ammar Barazy said that “the existence of Republic Act No. / 27 / date 2002 that announced this hospital as an institution, gave it an ability to attract more nurses, especially as the current ones are not skilled enough.” Fake tenders An engineer in the Engineering Department in the Ibn Sina Hospital mentioned that “The Project of the Development and Modernization of the Dormitories for men no. 4” was the most important project that would help ease the pressure of patients within a dormitory. However, during the resolution of financial offers some mistakes occurred and it turned out that there was a prior agreement between the Tenders Committee and the contractor. The project concerned renovation and adding new rooms to the four dormitories; cost of this investment was 40 million. However, the Tenders Committee did not transmit the financial offer to the Technical Committee for study of the economic price, what resulted in giving a chance to non-qualified contractor, which did not include materials for two dormitories. This mistake caused losing huge amount of money. Many witnesses got a negative impression about functioning of the hospital. It becomes even stronger if we consider the fact that one of the patients, who believed that Jews are behind his status of being poisoned, burned his home, and was diagnosed as schizophrenic, could get better only if he didn’t share the room with 12 other patients; he could be better, if there was no corrupted deals that take place in Ibn Sina, along with the bad management at that time.