A judge in Aguascalientes has ordered the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) to provide the medications a young cancer patient needs to continue her treatment.
The October 9 ruling came in response to an injunction request filed by the 7-year-old girl’s father, who said that his daughter, who has leukemia, has faced delays in accessing the drugs she needs since recovering from the coronavirus in May.
A longstanding shortage of medications has affected the treatment of child cancer patients across Mexico and triggered countless protests by their parents.
Judge Sonia Hernández Orozco, a district court judge in Aguascalientes, explained her ruling to the young cancer sufferer in simple language.
“Hello little one, the judge who knows about the problem [you face] is writing to you. … Your dad brought me a document in which he explained to me that you started having problems getting your medicines in May,” Hernández told 7-year-old Sandra Angélica García.
“For that reason, sometimes you’ve had to buy them so you can take them on time. … Let me tell you that one of the many rights you have is to to receive the medicines and medical care you need because that’s what article 4 of the Constitution says. … I want to tell you that … the authorities have to respect your rights,” the judge said.
“Realizing that your dad is right in saying that the authorities of the Mexican Social Security Institute have placed your health at risk, I issued a ruling ordering them to check that the pharmacy at the hospital you go to has the medicines you need.”
Hernández told the girl that she will follow up to ensure that IMSS complies with her order. In her ruling, she said that IMSS officials in Aguascalientes, the institute’s director and management at the IMSS hospital in the municipality of Jesús María where the girl receives treatment are responsible for ensuring that García has access to the medications she needs.
Failing to comply with the court order could result in them facing administrative or even criminal sanctions.
In response to the court order, IMSS Aguascalientes pledged to comply in a timely manner, stating that it would seek out domestic or foreign suppliers in order to purchase any medications it lacks.
It also said that it could seek to source medications from IMSS authorities in other states in order to ensure that patients’ treatment is not interrupted or delayed.
The court order and the commitment from IMSS to comply with it are welcome news for Emmanuel García and his daughter.
“I was sent [a letter] saying that I wasn’t going to miss out on my medicines anymore,” said the latter.
Her father said that they appreciated that the judge took the time to explain her ruling to his daughter in plain language.
“We’re very grateful to her and to everyone who supported us,” García said, explaining that relatives helped his family cover the costs of buying the medications IMSS failed to supply earlier this year.