Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

Carmen Silva is the mother of one of the 16 children who have died due to the epidemic outbreak of the bacteria serratia marcescens in the Agustín Zubillaga University Pediatric Hospital (HUPAZ) in Barquisimeto, in western Venezuela.

HUPAZ. Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

“My son had leukemia, I brought him to the hospital so he could begin his chemotherapy treatment. They would apply the treatment for two days because he had a very high fever. A week after we arrived, his mouth started filling with bleeding moles. He underwent a blood test, which resulted positive. He got antibiotics for a month, but it was useless, his condition worsened and he died.”

Carmen says that while his son was hospitalized, the hospital authorities didn’t tell her that her son had been infected with the bacteria. She adds that, during her stay at the healthcare center, she saw other similar cases: “When my son was there, there were two or three other children infected with the same bacteria.”

Carmen Silva, mother of a 16-month-old victim. Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

The painful stories related to the serratia marcescens repeat with few differences in the bacteria’s behavior in its victims.

María Pérez, mother of a two-month-old girl, says that her daughter entered HUPAZ on June 2, 2018, with vomit. On June 5, she’d become another of the dangerous bacteria’s victims.

“My daughter started suffering from a swollen arm and then her skin started changing color. The moles appeared later… The doctors never told us that the baby had a bacteria.”

María and her husband demand justice from the competent authorities for their daughter’s death.

María Pérez, mother of a two-month-old victim. Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

Breaking the silence

Early this year, Dr. Leymilena Jaime (@leymij14), pediatric intensivist of HUPAZ’s Newborn and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, presented a medical report showing solid evidence of the cases affected by the bacteria.

According to Jaime, between January and March there were 28 confirmed cases. She says that 85% of blood tests carried out on these patients were all positives, and 11 of them died.

Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

These cases put specialists in high alarm. Aware of the bacteria’s aggressiveness, they managed to identify 19 new positive cases in the pediatric hospital and two more patients with similar symptoms who couldn’t get blood tests because the hospital doesn’t have a lab and the parents didn’t have the necessary funds.

For the last four years, this healthcare center hasn’t had a laboratory, much less the reagents to perform tests. This is why most of the victims’ parents and relatives must go to private labs near the hospital to get their blood tests.

The authorities in charge, Health Vice-Minister and Regional Health Director Dr. Linda Amaro (@LindaAmaro), and hospital director Dr. Rafael Agüero (@drreaguero), haven’t implemented the necessary control measures to eradicate the microbe, despite being informed of the bacteria outbreak. These authorities never carried out the appropriate epidemiological study, even though the doctors in charge sent written requests for sterilization. The authorities merely denied the veracity of the results issued by private hospitals.

Dr. Rafael Agüero. Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

Dr. Jaime points out that even though they reported the bacteria outbreak, the hospital’s authorities didn’t carry out the proper epidemiological study, nor implemented the control measures used in these cases to eradicate microbes. Even though the doctors in charge sent written requests for sterilization, the authorities ignored them.

A call for justice

NGO Madres y Padres por los Niños de Venezuela (@mapanivzla) (MAPANI), that provides legal and psychological support to the parents and relatives of the victims of the bacteria serratia marcescens, recently filed a constitutional protective measure in Lara State’s courts, demanding justice for confirmed cases.

Lawyer Gretna El Halabi, head of MAPANI, accompanied by some of the parents of deceased children, said that there are still cases of children infected by the bacteria in the hospital.

“We keep finding new cases with negative blood tests but show symptoms of serratia infection. We have evidence in pictures and videos.”

Photo: Juan Diego Vílchez

The protective measure was declared inadmissible by Luis Flores, the judge with jurisdiction on the matter of protection of children and teenagers, who notified the plaintiff that the legal measure didn’t proceed because the administrative channels weren’t exhausted and the abused rights weren’t detailed.

El Halabi called the measure a violation against the rule of law. Therefore, she said that they’ll soon take the issue before international instances, among them the UN Human Rights System.

Lastly, she insisted on demanding HUPAZ authorities to sterilize the healthcare center according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) procedures.

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  1. These stories infuriate me.

    I can understand Chavista indifference to the health of fellow Venezuelans, but KIDS!? BABIES!?

    There’s a special place in hell for people like this, and I wish neighboring countries would get their act together and invite the Marines in to send them there.

  2. I’m enraged too. But unfortunately it isn’t due to Chavistas only. I can tell that 20 yr ago during a new year eve party of some Venezuelan doc in DC, the party was full of Venezuelan exchanging the “cupos”. Then later on some other Venezuelan came to my place Plano, TX and with them their parasites, their main job ”raspar tarjetas” and do quarterly trips to Barcelona.

    They all sweread on their mothe’s honor that they were not chavistas but ”victims”

    Those antichavistas were as guilty as everyone else.

    I definitely left too young too early to become an undesirable among them.

    I hope they read me.

  3. What a horrible situation.

    I have personally never seen that orange slime. It would be more common to see a spot of black mold here and there, and bleach will kill it. But they don’t even have bleach.

    Coming back to this horrendous history of this hospital in Barquisimeto. Then the reason is lack of proper housekeeping therefore inadequate sterilization methods, etc.

    Since CLOROX and another housekeeping specialty companies left the country, it should be very hard to find disinfectants that must be paid in hard currency.

    However, do you know how the bacteria gets transferred from a humid environment to the poor children? Even in the poorest countries in Africa, you don’t hear this kind of medical reports. People die from Ebola but not from lack of housekeeping. Fortunately or thanks to God actions, in the current state of affairs in Venezuela there are no more common diseases like dysentery or typhus. Thanks God and to good luck too.

    There is this article that discusses prevention and elimination of the orange slime:

    And the Madburro friendly Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, etc. remain silent as if nothing was happening.

    And the locals don’t care, this is a sample:

    Wow. This is really important:

    All them bastards.

  4. Jup… Demand free healthcare! Free health care killed your child. Justice.. ok, sure, Fair wages .. what is hyperinflation? Food and a house! yup just keep demanding while you bury the dead. A truly sad story, but then again, just another sad story..

    but maybe the new Bolivar Fuerte y Sovereign y Magnificent will change… nothing.

    Get back in line.. next line is to bury the dead as there is a shortage of wood for coffins.

    The decline of Venezuela I lived and observed for nearly 20 years is astonishing. but no one does anything to change the trajectory. The only bottom is 6 feet down.. wait your turn. Oh and it’s coming.

    Thank you Naky, MRubio, John and others for providing some hope.. but like all else, that’s in short supply.

  5. “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of El Paredón.” — Che Guevara

    Venezuela is in the grip of The Revolution that is in peril! The Revolution is careening towards collapse, and the only thing that matters is The Revolution. That innocent people suffer is inconsequential! Yes, yes… it is a shame that babies must die and children must eat from garbage and adults must starve. It is The Revolution, however, that must be nurtured. Everything else is just “bourgeois details”!

    Why don’t the people of Venezuela understand that? The sacrifices that Nicolas and Delcy and Jorge and Diosdado and Vlad and Aristobulo and Elias and Tarek are making for El Pueblo? Talk about being unappreciated!

    But alas! While El Pueblo doesn’t want to suffer, suffer they must, so that they can be assured that those who think themselves BETTER than El Pueblo are made to suffer. El Pueblo might go without medicine, and food, and clean water and electricity… but at least the Middle Class must take mass transit now, and the Vile Rich can’t go out and buy that bottle of Glenlivit any longer. And this is worth it, because El Gigante said so.

    What is needed is a proper Latin American word to use for the German word Schadenfreude.

    {{{sarcasm off}}}

  6. El Guapo, I wish there was a way to send a copy of your post to every mindless supporter of Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez here in the states but then again ,as Ira says, you can’t fix stupid.

    • Ocasio-Cortez, aka “Occasional-Cortex” “She Guevara” “Hotsky Trotsky” “Karla Marx” “Bolivarian Barbie” “Mao Nodong” and cruder variation of Pol Pot that I wont slpell out?

      The internet can be a wonderful thing.

  7. “Even though the doctors in charge sent written requests for sterilization, the authorities ignored them.”

    When leftist bureaucrats control every resource, every decision, this is the result. Remember that under marxism everything is political including your daughter’s life, for the glory of the revolution.

  8. “María and her husband demand justice from the competent authorities for their daughter’s death.”

    And this is the kind of justice you will receive (at best):
    “The protective measure was declared inadmissible by Luis Flores, the judge with jurisdiction on the matter of protection of children and teenagers, who notified the plaintiff that the legal measure didn’t proceed because the administrative channels weren’t exhausted and the abused rights weren’t detailed.”

    Be careful! After the hunt for the guilty comes the punishment of the innocent.


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