Gordillo: patient at exclusive Mexico City hospital. Gordillo: patient at exclusive Mexico City hospital.

Ex-union boss treated at exclusive hospital

Former head of the teachers' union faces charges of embezzlement

A former head of the teachers’ union, in custody since 2013, has spent more than a year in an exclusive Mexico City hospital that charges as much as 10,000 pesos, or US $500, a day.

Elba Esther Gordillo Morales, who led the the National Education Workers’ Union (SNTE) for a quarter-century, faces charges of embezzlement and organized crime in connection with the disappearance of $200 million in union funds.

The 72-year-old suffers from kidney disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension, viral hepatitis type C and two saccular cerebral aneurysms and is a patient at the María José Roma private hospital. She has been under house arrest of sorts since her admission on January 27 last year.

Gordillo’s master suite is equipped with an electric hospital bed, a dedicated phone line, cable television, wifi, air conditioning and a sitting area.

Her costs of lodging and medical care run between 8,000 and 10,000 pesos per day, and include medical surveillance and the patient’s medications. Any additional emergency care is charged separately, as are the salaries of the medical specialists.

The newspaper El Universal estimated that the cost of Gordillo’s year-long stay at the hospital was over 4 million pesos, or $200,000.

The Mexico City Government Secretary told the newspaper that since Gordillo’s relatives opted for a private hospital and are the ones paying the bill.

The city government pays only for the guards posted outside Gordillo’s suite, two per 12-hour shift, Patricia Mercado confirmed.

The 18-bed María José Roma hospital, located in Roma Norte, has been a favorite among celebrities and politicians alike. Founded and staffed by military doctors trained abroad, the main selling point for the exclusive hospital is not its top-notch medical care, but the control it exerts over who has access to a patient’s room and the degree of privacy a patient chooses.

It is possible that Gordillo, nicknamed “La Maestra,” will soon leave her private hospital suite for an apartment in Polanco. She has been fighting in the courts for house arrest, on the grounds of her age and medical condition, since 2015.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Reader forum