Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals
“There are people dying for lack of medicine, children dying of malnutrition and others dying because there are no medical personnel,” said Dr. Yamila Battaglini, a surgeon at the hospital.Yet even among Venezuela’s failing hospitals, Luis Razetti Hospital in Barcelona has become one of the most notorious.
In April, the authorities arrested its director, Aquiles Martínez, and removed him from his post. Local news reports said he was accused of stealing equipment meant for the hospital, including machines to treat people with respiratory illnesses, as well as intravenous solutions and 127 boxes of medicine.
Around 10 one recent night, Dr. Freddy Díaz walked down a hall there that had become an impromptu ward for patients who had no beds. Some clutched blood-soaked bandages and called from the floor for help. One, brought in by the police, was handcuffed to a gurney. In a supply room, cockroaches fled as the door swung open.
Dr. Díaz logged a patient’s medical data on the back of a bank statement someone had thrown in the trash.
“We have run out of paper here,” he said.