He came to check on a piece of furniture he had built for our room and to help with our phone lines. Now, with the baby, we can’t be isolated when our phones die, or power is out, or the reception goes caput, so he, who we shall call Mr. R, is our go-to-guy. He has worked with my dad for years, calls us by our first names and always takes a moment to show us love.

When Mr. R arrived, I walked up to say hi with my baby in arms, my husband next to me. He greeted the kid, smiling with a “está grande.

“My sister just had her baby, a week ago,” he said, and we smiled; he didn’t. “She went in for a check-up, and she was leaking.”

By that, we assumed her water had broken — Mr. R wasn’t specific.

“She was ready to give birth?” I asked.

“The insurance company (hadn’t approved the budget) yet. She’s a school teacher, so it was that or a public hospital. Her doctor told her to come back on Tuesday, and we assumed everything was fine. This happened on a Friday.”

My baby kept on smiling and being cute, as babies do. But there was a shadow in R’s eyes and I just knew a happy ending wasn’t coming.

“She went in on Tuesday and the doctor told her the baby died the day before.”

He wanted to charge for the delivery, so he waited for the insurance company.

And it’s not so much what he said, but how. I felt out of place trying to comfort him while holding my happy daughter.

“The doctor just didn’t tell us she was ready to give birth. We would have taken her to a hospital.”

“But how? How could the doctor be so irresponsible?”

“Well,” he shrugged. “The baby pooped in the womb and got infected.”

This, by the way, is a medical emergency; if a baby is overdue, or has experienced stress before birth, he may defecate prior to delivery, hence risking breathing in meconium, right into the lungs.

“The doctor said nothing after my sister started leaking amniotic fluid” said R. “He wanted to charge for the delivery, so he waited for the insurance company.”

And he just kept repeating it, alone among us: “If he had told us she was ready, we would have taken her to a hospital.”

***

Hours after hearing the story, I was still shaken with what we’ve become. The current crisis is not only destroying our quality of life, it’s destroying what defines us as human beings. Babies are dying, mothers are dying, and no one is held accountable for anything.

The insurance delayed its answer to avoid paying and the doctor delayed the baby’s delivery to charge them.

And justice will be forever denied to them because this family doesn’t even consider the possibility of the system doing its job.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. “The current crisis is not only destroying our quality of life, it’s destroying what defines us as human beings” It’s not that it’s destroying what defines us as human beings, it already has. I moved back to Venezuela 7 years ago after being gone for 22.The first thing I noticed was how people had changed, regardless of social status. Now it’s a lot worse. There seems to be total disregard for anybody except oneself. I even see this among family members.

    I can deal/manage with the lack of food, medicines, etc. But the lack of humanity that has become more common than not, it’s not something I can accept or get used to.

  2. Well, more than a Venezuelan issue, is a “private doctor” issue. To be honest i have read of similar ordeals with how the US hospitals operate when dealing with people with no insurance and that is one point that i can understand that people to be pissed and want a change in the system.

    I recommend the documentary “warning this drug may kill you” , because is a common concern on how doctors are making patients addicted to over prescribed opioids. The American medical industry and big pharma are really messep up.

    • Vero, you bring two separate issues and meld them into one. In the USA, regardless of your ability to pay, regardless of your immigration status, and regardless if you have insurance or not, if you have a medical emergency, you will given all the services needed to relieve that emergency. In this case, a heathly baby would have been born to this world. Same, if your baby was a premie, and needed $500,000 for care to survive. Granted, afterward you may be on your own dealing with the follow up services.

      yes, our system is NOT perfect. It does not provide unlimited care, and even with insurance, one can become bankrupt with the outrageous costs that are charged. It is a sad state of affairs to be sure.

      But we American “want it all”. Who doesn’t in the world though? We want all available drugs, technology, the latest medical advances, to relieve us our ills and pains.

      The reality is that someone needs to pay for it, and the American psyche, at least for the first 200+ years, has been that individual responsibly lies in the individual, and not the state. We have alway been wary of the state, hence our obsession with the “right to bear arms”, and our resistance to a national ID card. This is changing of course with the young generation for sure.

      In regards to the opioid epidemic, I believe it has to do with as you say, irresponsible doctors and big pharma as you point out. BUT, also in the mix is individual responsibility. Whenever I am prescribed drugs, even 30 years ago, as a youngster, I am highly wary, that they are no more than temporary relief, and stop using them almost at once. Maybe I am foolish – yes, but my wife is a doctor, and she preaches the complexity of the human body, and the limitations of her profession. This has only re-inforced my beliefs.

      Painkillers, do not solve any underlying problem, other than pain. If you have pain, your body is telling you something is not right. Mask that pain, and the nothing but the pain is solved.

      On the other hand, I fell off a loading dock once, only about 6 feet onto concrete in a very awkward way. The pain was unbearable. I took all the drugs prescribed. As well, I am a cancer survivor, and let the docs do as they thought was needed. I am human, and have the same survival instincts as the next guy.

  3. I keep debating it to myself:

    Do these anecdotal stories…a case here, a case there…really matter any more? I guess they do because they put a personal face on the crisis.

    But it also becomes pretty redundant, and to what end? What purpose?

    Aren’t we all depressed enough, and already well aware of the shithole that VZ 2017 is?

    • These are simply anecdotal stories. One can not extrapolate. The FACT is that this was a miscarriage, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with the doctor, nothing to do with hyperinflation, nothing to do with the current state of Venezuela first class medical system. It will go into the ledger as a miscarriage, due to natures random unpredictability. We deal with FACTS here. Shame on you to think otherwise.

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