August 10, 2006

Retaliation chronicles

Katy says: Wednesday, August 1, 3:50 AM: Former CNE President and chavista figure, Jorge Rodríguez, goes to Clínica El Ávila (one of Venezuela's most prestigious private medical centers) for a checkup after a car accident. He ends up in Clínica La Floresta where he is diagnosed with two apparently small fractures in his ribs and a bump in his head.

Wednesday, August 1: State news agency ABN reports the incident with the unbiased headline "Clínica Ávila refused medical attention to former CNE President". The news item does not include the clinic's response to these allegations.

Thursday, August 3: El Universal says that the Prosecutor General's office has begun an investigation into the reasons why Rodríguez was denied treatment at Clínica El Ávila. Medical staff at the clinic allege that Rodríguez was taken to La Floresta in one of their ambulances after a woman accompanying Rodríguez (presumably his sister, Minister Delcy Rodríguez) went ballistic on the attending physician, who had to lock herself up in a room.

Thursday, August 3: Clínica El Ávila President Mario García says that Rodríguez was taken care of like any other emergency patient, that his vital conditions were stable but that the attending physician had recommended a CAT scan to rule out internal problems. The physician informed Rodríguez that the Clinic's CAT scan was broken, and they suggested he go instead to Clínica La Floresta.

Thursday, August 3: Venezuela's tax authority shuts down the administrative offices of Clínica El Ávila for 48 hours, apparently due to errors in some of the paperwork. There is no allegation of tax evasiuon or tax fraud. The procedure was done by 15 employees from the tax office, who inspected the Clinic accompanied by 42 inspectors from the Ministry of Health, who apparently inspected everything from medical machinery to the medicines being administered.

Thursday, August 10: El Universal reports that the Health Ministry has shut down the Clinic's lab, pharmacy and three of its operating rooms. No word yet on whether the CAT scan machine was or was not in working conditions.


- Why are tax authorities called on to investigate what is, by all accounts, a case of apparent medical malpractice?

- Why is the government so keen on meddling in a private dispute between a private citizen and a private health-care facility?

- Why is the Health Ministry so keen on inspecting one of the country's most presitigious private clinics, when public hospitals in Venezuela are in such shabby conditions?

- Is there any truth to reports that Rodríguez had a portion of Clínica La Floresta vacated for his security personnel?

- What ever happened to figuring out whether or not the CAT scan machine was functional?

- If the machine wasn't functional, what role does the CADIVI roadblock play into it?

- Why would the clinic that is supposedly denying medical treatment allegedly take Rodríguez to another clinic in one of its ambulances?

- Do all tax/health inspections require a commando-style operation by 57 employees?