The secretary of Health Department, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, ordered an investigation into the death of a 13-year-old preteen in Vieques, whose family claims that it was because of not having a mechanical fan available in the diagnosis and treatment center (CDT) of the municipality municipality.
However, the Secretary of Health in the written statements he issued does not mention anything about the absence of a mechanical ventilator in the CDT.
“I have ordered that everything related to this case be investigated – by the Department of Health – to ensure that the corresponding clinical measures were followed, according to their condition, since each life is valuable and we must always safeguard the health of all in Puerto Rico, ”said Rodríguez Mercado.
Although he ordered the investigation, the secretary concluded in his statements, and based on the information he received, that the “clinical status (of the minor) was already very compromised resulting in his death.”
Jaideliz Moreno Ventura She had been taken last Friday to a medical institution on the big island and tested for influenza that showed negative results, the minor’s uncle told the media, Carlos “Prieto” Ventura. The preteen, at that time, suffered from fever, sore throat and headache, the uncle said. “She was discharged and she returned to Vieques,” Ventura said.
He explained that, the next day, the preteen complained of severe pain in the head and then collapsed and began to convulse for what was taken – about 6:00 am – to the CDT where they placed a tank of oxygen to try to assist her.
“He was running out of oxygen because it is not the same at hand as with a machine. They have to recruit seven people to help keep it with oxygen because it is tedious. People get so tired of being squeezed that the time comes that their arms are carved. They came to advance the saturation. When Aeromed (the air ambulance) arrives, the girl could not keep her. But in this process hours passed, ”said the uncle.
The Aeromed air ambulance, through a press release, clarified that it was contacted by medical staff of the CDT that did not conclude the process and that despite this, they dispatched the service that arrived in Vieques at 10:48 a.m.
“Aeromed received the first call from the Vieques CDT to request the aeromedical transport service at 8:08 AM. Four minutes after the call started, that is, at 8:12 AM and while the Aeromed dispatch staff carried out the corresponding protocol to coordinate the flight, the doctor attending the girl canceled the service indicating that she would be transported by plane “
“Later, at 8:41 AM, the Vieques CDT calls Aeromed to request the service again, explaining that when the girl arrived by land ambulance to Vieques airport, she could not be transported because she was“ unstable. ”A at 8:43 AM, the Vieques CDT hung up the call before finishing the flight coordination process with Aeromed’s office. Aeromed’s office tried to communicate again with the Vieques CDT from 8:44 AM to 9:04 AM on several occasions, ”he continues.
Finally, Aeromed contacted the CDT staff and they arrived in Vieques but “the Vieques CDT, unfortunately, could never stabilize the girl and declared her dead at 11:40 AM. The girl was never eligible for aeromedical transport under the standards of care established since the CDT formalized the request for Aeromed services. ”
The Secretary of Health, meanwhile, said that “immediately that I was informed of the unfortunate and painful death of the girl in the CDT of Vieques, I contacted the doctors who work in it to know the clinical picture of the girl.”
“I was informed that the patient was treated in a private hospital in the metropolitan area in San Juan and was discharged. After several days at his home in Vieques, his health deteriorates, so he was taken to the Nena Island CDT where he was given medical treatment, but his clinical condition was already very compromised, resulting in his death, ”he said.
The old Vieques hospital remains closed from the scourge of hurricane Maria and it has become a den of realengos horses. Since then, the Viequenses only have a clinical center, which offers limited health services, in the facilities of what used to be a refuge, in the Las Marías neighborhood. The governor Wanda Vázquez Garced He visited both places last November and subsequently sent medical supplies.
“I don’t know why they say (in the CDT) that they don’t need anything. They say nothing and then one goes there and finds that there are no medications, ”Ventura said.
The creation of a new CDT is in the hands of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that has not yet reached an agreement with the federal government. Meanwhile, the claims of the Viequenses are maintained not only for decent collective transport but for adequate health services.