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Around Slovakia

Bad blood
Minor sentenced for major crime
Stealing railway tracks
Police break up frog feast
Retiring in style, for a price

Banská Bystrica
Bad blood

A 55-YEAR-OLD patient died at the Roosevelt hospital in Banská Bystrica after staff gave her the wrong type of blood during a hip operation.
Robert Rusnák, head of the Roosevelt hospital, fired the head of the responsible section, Pavol Legiňa, and suspended the doctor and a nurse who were responsible for the faulty blood transfusion on April 6.
"It was a human error," Rusnák said to the Slovak daily SME.
Rusnák has submitted a criminal complaint against the employees for causing health damage that resulted in death. Police are investigating the case. Rusnák has also created a special investigation team within the hospital.
Rusnák said that his hospital carries out 400 to 500 hip operations each year and that an experienced doctor and his team led the most recent one. Complications came only during the blood transfusion.
"During the transfusion, the blood for two different patients was swapped," Rusnák said.

Minor sentenced for major crime

A 16-YEAR-OLD student from the south-central Slovak town of Lučenec has been sentenced to six years in juvenile jail for the brutal murder of a 79-year-old woman.
He killed the old woman last August by beating, strangling, and kicking her, and also stabbing her 65 times with two kitchen knives - even breaking one. Killing for money, he fled the murder scene with Sk250 (€6.3) in his pocket.
Unable to bear his guilt, he confessed to his friends shortly after the murder.
"I think the penalty is not unjust," Ján Krankuš, the young man's attorney, said to the Slovak daily Pravda.

Stealing railway tracks

AN UNKNOWN perpetrator stole 170 metres of rail connecting the Vojany power producer with nearby company Želmat.
The state-run news agency TASR reported on April 6 that the theft, which occurred between March 15 and April 5, cost the energy producer Sk500,000 (€12,500) in damages.
Apart from the tracks, the thief also stole a great deal of other equipment, including various screws and point switches.
Police are looking for the perpetrator, local police spokeswoman Jana Demjanovičová said. It remains unclear why no one in Vojany noticed the theft earlier.

Police break up frog feast

POLICE arrested two men who were catching frogs and planning to eat them.
The two men from the eastern Slovak village of Štós, near Košice, caught 57 precious frogs - brown jumpers - when a police patrol came and broke up the planned dinner party. According to the Slovak daily SME, the exotic lunch would have cost Sk171,000 (€4,270), as the frogs are a protected species. Both men were charged with breaking nature protection laws.
"This is not the first such case. Frog thighs are apparently a local delicacy," environmentalist Štefan Szabó from the civic group Sosna said to the daily.
"I once experienced a brutal scene in the area: In one place I found dozens of frogs with their legs cut off. They were still alive," Szabó said.
Juraj Popovič, the head of the Slovenský Kras National Park guard unit, said that he had experienced something similar.
"As far as I know frog thighs are a gourmet specialty of the Carpathian Germans [that live in the area]. Whole generations of them used to catch frogs in the Jasov, Medzev, and Štós areas. All amphibians, including frogs, are protected by law throughout Slovak territory. Those who know this go to catch them in the dark," Popovič said.

Retiring in style, for a price

A NEW retirement home for well-off pensioners should open in a renaissance manor house near the western Slovak town of Trenčín in September 2005.
The renaissance building and its surrounding land were sold in February for Sk6 million (€150,000) to the Považská Bystrica-based firm M-invest, the Slovak daily SME wrote. The reconstruction project should begin this September.
An unnamed German company will cover the reconstruction costs, estimated at Sk110 million (€2.7 million). The company plans to run the social services at the manor house.
Peter Goralka from M-invest said that his company's investment should pay for itself, as the firm wants to run for the reconstruction contract.
"It is a very large investment," Goralka said.
According to SME, the German firm plans to have 53 beds in the retirement home, and about a third of the facility's capacity would serve patients suffering from dementia.
The facility will provide high quality services to those willing to pay for the extra care.
Mária Gasperová from the Slovak subsidiary of the German investor said: "Those who want better conditions have to pay extra."

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