A doctor has been publicly condemned and removed from his role as an ambassador for the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) after suggesting that President López Obrador – currently ill with Covid-19 – should be given a cocktail of drugs that could cause deep vein thrombosis or acute kidney failure and ultimately kill him.
After López Obrador announced last Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid, Diego Araiza, a cardiologist, took to Twitter to suggest that someone should prescribe the president hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, direct oral anticoagulants and steroids.
Araiza said the president would consequently develop deep vein thrombosis or acute kidney problems. As a result, Mexico would be saved from having to endure López Obrador’s lengthy morning press conferences, the doctor wrote.
Araiza’s remarks were promptly condemned by many Twitter users.
“This is unacceptable. While thousands of doctors fight to save lives, this doctor, Diego Araiza, chooses to taunt and [wish] death [upon the president]. I’m outraged,” wrote Jorge Gómez Naredo, a university professor with 82,000 Twitter followers.
The Inter-American Society of Cardiology said it “energetically rejected” the “irresponsible comments” of one of its members and extended its wishes to the president for a quick and full recovery.
“We hope that this unacceptable episode causes this young cardiologist to reflect about the damage his words can cause,” it said.
The European Society of Cardiology tweeted that it did not endorse the post by one of its social media ambassadors.
“Diego Araiza has publicly apologized and will no longer be an ambassador for the society, as his message infringed ESC social media guidelines,” it said.
Prior to that post, Araiza published a message on his now-deleted Twitter account.
“With respect to the tweet published yesterday [Sunday] about the health of the president I would like to make a public apology and clarify that my intention was not to offend or wish misfortune on anyone. I regret having treated an issue that is so sensitive for Mexicans with scant seriousness. The text shared was on my behalf and doesn’t involve the thoughts or actions of any [medical] institution or society, or my medical colleagues. I wish a quick recovery for all Mexicans suffering Covid-19 including President Andrés Manuel López Obrador,” he wrote.
Interior Minister Olga Sánchez, who has stood in for López Obrador at this week’s government press conferences, weighed in on the matter on Thursday, saying that the doctor’s remarks were regrettable and angered her.
“The truth is it was very regrettable and I believe that he has violated a fundamental medical ethics code. His conduct is reprehensible,” she said.
“Although we’ve always said that there is absolute freedom of speech, all rights have limits and the limits are when the rights of third parties are affected.”
Meanwhile, López Obrador remains in isolation at his home in the National Palace where he is being monitored by a medical team led by Health Minister Jorge Alcocer. The president is said to have only mild symptoms.