Health Care in Venezuela in crisis

Venezuela Dangerous For The Healthy And ‘Deadly’ For The Ill, A Nation In Crisis

The nation of Venezuela has faced tremendous challenges in recent years due to an economic downturn. The crisis impacts all individuals and all levels of governmental organizations as well as health care. Without the funds to purchase necessary medical supplies, the sick and injured who arrive at hospitals often do not recover, even when the ailments are those that are completely curable with proper medication.

Ashley Pacheco, a 3-year-old who, while running and chasing her brother, fell and scraped her knee, was cuddled by her parents after they had applied rubbing alcohol to the wound. They didn’t think anything of it afterward, yet two weeks later, she was admitted to hospital for a serious infection, about which her parents feared the worst. Her father scoured the streets of Caracas for antibiotics that are scarce due to a shortage.

As the Associated Press shares, Venezuela has “become dangerous for the healthy” and is now “deadly for those who fall ill.”

The publication shares that one in three people who were admitted to the hospital last year died. The number of beds in operation has fallen by 40 percent since 2014, and the economy is failing the country which is short on roughly 85 percent of medicines, according to the national drugstore trade group.

A Yale University School of Public Health professor, Rafael Perez-Escamilla, who has worked in Latin America and Africa, commented on the crisis.

“I really don’t know of any other country where things have deteriorated so quickly, to such an incredible extent. Venezuela’s health system was a model for Latin America. Now you are seeing an implosion where people cannot get basic care. I really don’t know of any other country where things have deteriorated so quickly, to such an incredible extent”Venezuela’s health system was a model for Latin America. Now you are seeing an implosion where people cannot get basic care.”

The lack of medicine leaves little room for error and for the normal enjoyments of life, like a little girl chasing her brother, for fear she may get a cut and lose a limb or her life to infection. Ashley’s parents spoke of their determination to deal with the lack of food and dirty water that is now commonplace. They were forced to send the 3-year-old to a private school after the public school collapsed. They boil water every night before bathing their children and do their best to always find food to put on the table for their family. However, the infection and fever that resulted from Ashley’s scrape resulted in a loss of control.

At the local clinic, doctors said she would soon be on the mend. Yet the fever kept rising, and her knee was swelling. So Maykol and Oriana Pacheco loaded her between them on their motorcycle and took off, determined to find a hospital that would take their case more seriously.

They went first to the public children’s hospital nearest their home, which had been hit with a wave of poisoning cases. As shortages worsen, parents are giving their kids homemade medicines and food such as bitter yucca that can be toxic if not prepared correctly. With few supplies, doctors can do little but ease some of these children into death as painlessly as possible. They didn’t have medicine for Ashley. Her father scoured the city, Finally, the child got the care she needed and a surgery to rid the infection. Before she was better, her leg had swelled up with the diameter of a dinner plate. The family of Ashley was eternally grateful to a mother of a boy who died of a lung infection, for donating his medicine to Ashley, which helped save her life.

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