A Zacatecas neurosurgeon has denounced the “unbelievable conditions” under which Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) doctors must work, asserting that the personal protective equipment (PPE) they are given is not up to the standard required to treat Covid-19 patients.
Armando Rosales received a call from his supervisor at the Zacatecas IMSS General Hospital No. 1 on Friday morning asking him to review a patient who had been admitted to the Covid-19 ward.
He told the newspaper El Universal that before he entered the ward, his supervisor gave him a paper bag containing a gown, face mask, gloves and a surgical cap.
Rosales said he thought there had been a mistake because the quality of the equipment was not sufficient to prevent infection with a contagious disease such as Covid-19.
“The conditions under which IMSS has my colleagues working – without appropriate personal protective equipment – are unbelievable,” he said. “Management says that [the PPE] is what the World Health Organization recommends but I don’t agree.”
The neurosurgeon, a 27-year veteran of the IMSS system and head of the employees’ union, said that as far as he knows medical personnel in countries such as China, Italy and the United States always use high quality PPE when treating Covid-19 patients.
“I’ve never seen them in any old gown and cap, [wearing] a mask that is not an N95 one and … gloves that don’t adjust to size,” Rosales said.
In addition to speaking to El Universal, the surgeon posted a video to social media in which he denounced the poor quality of the PPE he was given.
“Today I was asked to do a consultation in the Covid-19 area with a patient who has water on the brain. … He arrived with breathing problems and appeared to have symptoms of pneumonia. The thing is I asked my boss for protective equipment … and the truth is it’s complete crap,” Rosales says in the video.
He also took aim at IMSS director Zoé Robledo, asserting that his claim that hospitals have the equipment they need is false.
“Zoé Robledo says that we have everything but you go to the hospitals and there is nothing,” Rosales said, adding that some health workers have been dismissed for speaking out about the lack of PPE.
He called on Robledo and other health officials not to leave medical personnel to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve shown you … the poor quality of the supplies we have; I’ve recorded videos, spoken to people and nothing’s happened,” he said.
Rosales threatened a strike by healthcare workers last month over the lack of supplies and protective equipment.
Health workers have protested shortages of PPE and other supplies since the beginning of the pandemic, with IMSS workers in Mexico City and México state blocking highways last week.
Source: El Universal (sp)