Around Slovakia

Ostrich farm attracts visitors
Fire kills two at hospital
Doctors threaten to close their offices

SOĽ
Ostrich farm attracts visitors

The largest ostrich farm in eastern Slovakia makes its home in this tiny village near Vranov nad Topľou in eastern Slovakia. Vladimír Ruščák, the owner of the 22 ostriches, said he got his idea from a TV program. "Several years ago I saw a program on TV about ostrich farms, and that got me very interested," he said. Ruščák established his farm four years ago, and has since trippled his herd. His farm is often visited by school kids from surrounding towns or just by passers-by. Ruščák doesn't want to stop raising and selling ostriches, but on the contrary has plans to expand. "I plan to extend the farm, and to build a restaurant which would sell ostrich specialties, with an information office for those who wish to raise ostriches," he said.


BRATISLAVA
Fire kills two at hospital

An evening fire at Bratislava's largest hospital in Kramáre on March 10 killed two patients in the traumatology section of the hospital. Four fire trucks arrived too late to save the two patients, aged 45 and 70 years, who had been recovering from surgery. "The fire probably started when the 45-year old patient lit a cigarette under the covers," said Ján Gajdoš, the director of health care at the Ministry of Health. The patient was mentally retarded, Gajdoš added, and smoked despite prohibitions from the hospital's staff. "Matches were taken away from him several times, and we do not have an explanation of how he got these ones," Gajdoš said. Fire Department investigators established that the cause of death was a concentration of smoke and fumes. The covers used by the hospital are highly flammable. The fire was extinguished by 30 firemen. The head of the Fire Department, Peter Mikuláška, said it was too late for his firemen to do anything. "The fire was too fast, and we could not save the men from the fire," he said. "They were already dead when we started to fight the fire."


VEĽKÝ KRTÍŠ
Doctors threaten to close their offices

Pediatricians in the Veľký Krtíš region are determined to close their practices, beginning April 1, unless insurance companies pay the money they owe. The insurance companies have not paid these eleven doctors for five months, the practitioners claim, which can be fatal for private doctors. "We have decided to take this radical step, because none of us have received any payment for five or six months, and that is unbearable for us," said Tibor Kalmár, one of the peadiatricians, adding that the insurance companies owe each of the doctors between 100,000 and 150,000 Sk. Once they close their offices, Kalmár continued, they will only take emergency cases. The 11 doctors take care of 13,000 children in the entire region. They have started legal proceedings against the companies as well, but as Kalmár put it, "that does not seem to be going very quickly."


Compiled by Andrea Lörinczová

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