martes, 18 de septiembre de 2012

A broken leg, the simplest example of a broken healthcare system

On Saturday 21th of the current year, at 7 pm, Oscar, a 35 year-old truck driver, broke his leg during a celebration in a neighbor’s house. That same night, he and his wife Maye Benavides went to the Partenón hospital where they were attended after six hours. Maye said: “it is not something strange in the emergency rooms”.

On the following day, after they put a splint on Oscar Corba and gave him antihistamines for the pain. They told him to have some x-rays to analyze the magnitude of the accident. The cost of his fall was the fracture of the shinbone and the fissure of the fibula in his left leg. Surgery was unavoidable and he was told to be remitted to the anesthesiologist to discuss the details of the intervention.

The process until that moment worked like it should have. Oscar was recommended to wait some days so the swelling in his leg reduced a little and the procedure with the anesthesiologist could advance. The rest of the procedures could be carried out with surgery. But it was in fact in this point where Oscar’s situation started to get complicated. Corba suffers from heart arrhythmia and he had to be remitted to the cardiologist first before continuing to the operating room. There was no date available for the operation, and Oscar would have to wait one month.

Meanwhile, as he could not move because of the inflammation of his leg, Maye and he had to pay for transport in taxis and they could not afford them. Also, as Maye explains, during the whole time that Oscar could not move, they had to live only by Maye’s salary because the ARP, a local insurance company, could pay neither the medical costs nor Oscar’s salary because the accident did not happen during work.

Adriana Paredes Zambrano, a doctor graduated from Antioquia’s university, explains that this kind of delays can affect patients integral health. “It could become from a degenerative osteoarthritis (deformed auto recovery of the bone) to very dangerous outgrowths (carnosidades). It might be necessary to wait so the swelling in his leg reduces to make the surgery, but the limit time to do these kinds of interventions is one or one and a half months".

This is one of the many cases of inappropriate care related to the health. In the report La tutela y el derecho a la salud of the “Defensoría del Pueblo Colombiana” is shown how in the last fourteen years the number of tutelages has raised to claiming for the health primary rights.

In the same way, it is necessary to remember that Colombian EPS’s, health giving companies, owe around seven billion COP to the health sector and an important number of hospitals that are in crisis ought to the multimillionaire debts of the health system.

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