Friday, August 24, 2007

A rant about the buildings of our Medical University

Recently, as I was listening to TV news, I heard my workplace (the Medical University of Sofia) mentioned. On Aug. 11, the roof over the Department of Forensic Medicine was set ablaze by a lightning. Happily, there were very few people in the building (it was Saturday afternoon) and nobody was hurt. However, much of the roof and some equipment was destroyed. The above photo is copied from a Netinfo report ( Our Department of Biology is located in another part of the same building.
I don't understand how such a thing can happen. As far as I know, technology protecting buildings from thunderbolts is simple, cheap and centuries old. In the 21st century, I wish to think I am safe at my workplace even if there is a thunderstorm outside.
One of my earliest blog posts was devoted to a fire which devastated our Department of Pathophysiology ( After this Department lost its home, the teachers were distributed to other departments to obtain temporary workplaces. Right from the beginning, there were rumours that the temporary situation would become permanent. There was a precedent: the Department of Physiology, which lost its territory decades ago (I don't know the exact circumstances) and is currently located in rooms scattered across all 4 storeys of our building. Now, the rumours are confirmed: the same fate awaits the pathophysiologists. Their beautiful building will never be rebuilt, it will be destroyed instead and their Department will indefinitely exist scattered in rooms taken from other departments. Our Department of Biology is ordered to give 2 rooms.
This development is not that surprising for anyone who knows the Medical University of Sofia from inside. Teaching and treatment facilities are left to deteriorate and new buildings aren't finalized. There are three quite large constructions in the Medical University campus that are "frozen" with zero probability to be ever finished. Sometimes they are referred to as "the Bermuda Triangle". As far as I know, the Department of Physiology had to be located somewhere in the Triangle. The constructions that ARE successfully finished are those housing administration staff. Our clerks keep multiplying exactly as predicted by Parkinson's law - and also becoming ever more powerful. They always think that the students and teachers of the University have too much funds, computer equipment, research equipment, working space etc. and rarely miss an opportunity to take these resources away.
For the moment, I have no problem with the lost rooms because I am still on maternity leave. But when I return, we'll have to walk on each other's heads. The only realistic solution is somebody else going into maternity leave. So, if any of my younger female colleagues is reading this - come on, girls, get to work on the matter, this country needs a younger generation :) !
Otherwise, it will be better for me if fewer Medical University employees read this post. It may put me in trouble.

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