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Saturday, May 21, 2016

#Venezuela - crisis hit hospitals where 7 babies die a day / hospitales crisis golpeó en 7 bebés mueren al día

Published on 18 May 2016
The impact of Venezuela's economic collapse on its people is almost impossible to put into words.
But these images inside calamity-hit hospitals go some way to communicating the devastation.
Since oil prices plummeted, all aspects of everyday life - electricity, food, paper - have been rationed.
Critically, medical centers are in crisis.

Without soap, antibiotics, power, gloves and x-rays, surgeons are struggling to keep patients alive.
Pictures taken by New York Times photographer Meridith Kohut offer a glimpse inside some of the most notorious centers - while President Nicolas Maduro claims the socialist nation has the best healthcare in the world.

The Luis Razetti Hospital in the portal city of Barcelona looks like a war zone.
Patients can be seen balancing themselves on half-broken beds with days-old blood on their bodies.
They're the lucky ones; most are curled up on the floor, blood streaming, limbs blackening.
Children lie among dirty cardboard boxes in the hallways without food, water or medication.
Without electricity or functioning machines, medics have had to create their own solutions. Two men who had surgery on their legs have their limbs elevated by makeshift slings made out of water bottles.
One man is missing half his skull after a severe head injury a year ago. He is still waiting for post-surgery treatment.

Last summer, the Daily Mail reported how rampant opossums had infested the Luiz Razetti Hospital, killing 17 newborns.

That was just the start of months of misery at the center, according to the New York Times.
In just one day, the newspaper's reporters witnessed the deaths of seven babies since there were no oxygen tanks, and doctors had to pump air into their lungs by hand. 

A 68-year-old diabetic patient interviewed has to have her leg amputated; the hospital did not have dialysis machines or the antibiotics she requires.

One had to have an almost-rupturing appendix removed without proper tools or sanitation. Another died because the blood bank was closed due to a public holiday, which was randomly called by the government to save electricity.

President Nicolas Maduro has refused attempts to seek international or monetary support for the country's healthcare system that he says would effectively 'privatize' healthcare. 

The socialist leader, Hugo Chavez's successor, claims such a move would have devastating impacts on the country.

And he even insists Venezuela's healthcare is one of the best in the world: 'I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one,' he said. 

Since the economic collapse began to take hold of the country, Maduro has dedicated many of his speeches to boasting of Venezuela's strengths, and lashing out at other countries.

Like his late predecessor, Maduro regularly accuses the US of spying and illegal intervention.
On Tuesday, he told a press conference a U.S. military aircraft 'with lethal technical abilities' illegally entered Venezuelan airspace twice in seven days.

'Our military aviation detected the illegal entry, for unusual espionage tasks, of the Boeing 707 E-3 Sentry, which is an airborne early warning control center system that has all the mechanisms for espionage,' he told reporters at the presidential palace.

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