In Socialist Venezuela, Surgery Patients Are Having to Bring Their Own Scalpels

Brittany M. Hughes | March 30, 2018
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Socialism: it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Or taking, if you want to look at it more literally.

On top of the rampant crime, starvation, poverty, civil unrest and total economic collapse that’s rocked the socialist nation of Venezuela over the past – Lord, how long’s it been now? – it turns out doctors are fleeing the nation en masse because of the country's dire medical crises.

Physicians in the Central American nation are up against it big-time, facing widespread health problems that they can’t treat thanks to a nationwide deficiency of drugs and medical supplies. I reported just two months ago that a well-known, very young baseball star died of perfectly treatable pneumonia because the hospital he was sent to didn’t have basic medicine on hand.

According to this, patients who’re having surgery sometimes have to bring their own scalpels to the hospital because doctors just don’t have enough supplies.

“More than 85 percent of basic medicines are in short supply, meaning that some patients have to go to as many as nine pharmacies to find them,” the Miami Herald reports.

Now, doctors are saying they’re abandoning ship because they simply can't treat sick people. Patients’ families are now threatening them with death if their relatives die, while gangs simply walk into hospitals and kill their enemies thanks to a total lack of security. Dr. Junior Rodríguez, who works at Dr. Luis Razetti de Barcelona University Hospital, told the Miami Herald:

Rodríguez said he knew of three cases of violent attacks on medical personnel. In one case, gang members went into an emergency room in Caracas and ordered the staff to turn their backs while they stabbed to death four patients. One doctor who did not obey was beaten.

“When you see them come inside, you know you have to hide because there's no telling what can happen. There are no police outside any more, and the few who are out there run away because many don't even have guns,” he said.

On top of that, the government has reduced the salary of medical professionals to less than $10 a month, the Herald reports.

The government “has condemned medical personnel to a miserable salary that is erased by inflation. For doctors in public hospitals, the salaries stand at about $4 or $5 per month. That's for specialists,” said Venezuelan Medical Federation President Douglas León Natera.

The Miami Herald adds that 22,000 physicians – about a third of Venezuela’s total doctors – have left their post and even fled the country over the crisis. Thanks to the doctor shortage, women are reportedly forced to give birth in waiting rooms while other patients are being treated on the floor.

But yeah, please sign me up for some of that good ol’ government-run socialized health care. Sounds like a blast.

(Cover Photo: Efecto Eco)

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