Inadequate medical infrastructure is one of the reasons given for over 14,0000 complaints of medical negligence received last year by the National Commission of Medical Arbitration, known as Conamed.
Michoacán, Jalisco and the State of México led the list of states with the most complaints, while the Social Security Institute, or IMSS, amassed the largest number of complaints per institution, followed by local hospitals and state health services.
The Federal Employees’ Social Security Institute, ISSSTE, ranked at the other end of the list with the least number of complaints against it.
One of the complaints came from a patient in Querétaro. José Carmen Bernal was admitted for gallbladder surgery at the Querétaro General Hospital, where was told he could expect to be released the following day. Instead, he remained hospitalized for months and nearly died.
During his stay he suffered a punctured lung, lost 70% of his intestines and had a leg amputated.
“This hospital is the worst thing that could have happened to me,” he told the newspaper Milenio.
The attending physician told Carmen’s wife that “her husband had bad luck.”
To add insult to injury, the hospital demanded that Carmen pay 100,000 pesos to be discharged.
A Conamed representative suggested in regard to Carmen’s case that malpractice could be caused by negligent performance, a lack of expertise or a lack of sound judgement.
“But medicine is not an exact science, it has never been and never will be,” added Miguel Ángel Lezama.
Human rights ombudsman Miguel Nava said Carmen’s case was emblematic and a reflection of a health care crisis in the state. He added that the majority of violations to basic human rights occur in the health sector, both public and private.
The recommendations issued by Nava’s office often fall on deaf ears. “In some cases we’ve issued recommendations over the performance of the same physician.”
That of Leticia Miguel Benito was one case. She went to the General Hospital of San Juan del Río, also in the state of Querétaro, to give birth to her second son. Despite a successful labor, the infant was declared dead hours later.
Miguel charged that lack of expertise on the part of the unsupervised interns was to blame for the death. “The pediatrician had no experience. My baby had ingested liquid and she had no idea what to do. Her lack of expertise affected him, to the point of killing him.”
In this case, Conamed acknowledged that there could have been a violation of the applicable regulations which require that medical interns be supervised at all times by attending physicians.
The deputy medical coordinator of the state accepted that Querétaro’s medical infrastructure was overrun: “We fall short in meeting the demand. We try to improve, but it isn’t easy.”
With regard to José Carmen’s case, Julio César Ramírez warned that “one should be careful with the word ‘negligence.'” It implies that the physician detected something wrong but did nothing about it. When a doctor attempts treatment, he said, it’s not negligence.
After losing her child, Leticia Miguel sought compensation from the state Health Secretariat but was advised that she had missed the deadline and no longer had the right to compensation.
She should have filed the request within three days of her baby’s death.
Source: Milenio (sp)