Mexico exceeded 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 and the fear of the population to go to hospitals can have a serious impact.
This August 10 at the front page of the New York Times (NYT) Natalie Kitroeff and Paulina Villegas documented Mexicans’ fear of hospitals and how it leads to care that comes too late for coronavirus patients.
“I’d rather stay home and die,” reads the piece that begins with the arrival of a gray Suzuki at the doors of the General Hospital of Mexico City (CDMX) where a dying man is transported Victor Bailón who had been refusing medical attention for days for fear of dying at the hands of doctors.
“Daddy, breathe! Breathe, please “ are the words that the journalists quoted from the mouth of Victor’s wife. An hour later, Bailón would die.
The NYT recovers the case of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone during 2014. In it, relatives and neighbors were infected by people treated at home because they considered hospitals as hopeless “Deadly traps”.
In Mexico, they write, something similar happens. The pandemic crushes a previously weak health system, as bodies pile up in refrigerated trucks, many Mexicans perceive the Covid-19 care room as a deadly fate and one that must be avoided at all costs.
As a result, thousands of people are struck down by the disease without even seeing the inside of a hospital; They die in taxis on the way to seek last-minute medical attention or at home.
According to epidemiologists consulted by journalists, fighting the disease at home causes the disease to spread more widely, in addition to hiding the true scope of the pandemic, as many people die without being diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Many Mexicans say they have good reasons to distrust hospitals: according to the NYT report, in New York City, less than 25% of the patients died in hospitals, while in Mexico City about 40% of the people hospitalized for Covid-19, die.
Dr. Olivia López Arellano, head of the CDMX Ministry of Health, admitted to the New York newspaper that approximately half of deaths from coronavirus in hospitals occur in the first 12 hours after the patient is admitted. Whereas in the United States (USA) fatal cases typically spend 5 days in the hospital.
According to doctors consulted by Natalie and Paulina, more people would survive the virus if they were treated in time. The delay in seeking medical assistance causes more deaths in hospitals and, therefore, more fear of them.
The journalists take up the case of the attack on a hospital in Ecatepec that occurred in May, when several people attacked employees of the health facilities while filming themselves with corpses, claiming that the doctors were killing their loved ones.
José Eduardo, the brother of the late Víctor Bailón, He affirms “I would rather stay at home than die there” after claiming to have seen videos of what happens to patients in hospitals.
According to the official count, Mexico already has more deaths from Covid-19 than any other country except the US and Brazil, however, according to the government, there are currently 71,000 more deaths than expected indicating that the virus has claimed more lives than registered by the official count.
In a survey published by The financial Last month, 70% of Mexicans reported feeling unsafe to take their loved ones to a hospital during the pandemic. A third would prefer to care for them at home.
In this situation, Hugo López-Gatell urges the Mexican population to go to hospitals on time, recovers the NYT.
According to the US media, in a country plagued by corruption, mistrust of the authorities often extends to medical personnel in public hospitals.
The reporters retrieve the testimonies of different people who, like Modesto González, distrust hospitals because they heard that the government wants to let the elderly die because their pensions are very expensive. Héctor Mauricio Ortega believes that doctors infect people because “countries have to meet a quota of dead people each year.”
Raúl Pérez, who at the time of being interviewed by the journalists had spent 16 days staying outside the General Hospital of CDMX, says he has already met seven families whose loved ones entered with a disease other than Covid-19 and ended up infected.
He himself was waiting for his sister who entered for brain surgery and was informed that she had been diagnosed with coronavirus. “They just want to get rid of one more patient.”
Dr. Ernesto Nepomuceno tells the NYT that in his Iztapalapa clinic, doctors have to take measurements using the oxygen meter to themselves to convince patients that they are not stealing information when testing.
When, two days before his death, Víctor Bailón went to a local clinic and his blood oxygen levels were low, he begged his wife, Fabiola Palma Rodríguez, not to take him to the hospital.
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