By Rosanna Battistelli.
When Isidro Garcia arrived at the hospital of Santa Teresa del Tuy, in Miranda state, and saw his granddaughter crying, he knew something had happened. And so it was. His daughter, Isbel Garcia Robles, 40, had died. The cause: there was no oxygen at the health center to help her overcome the asthmatic condition she was suffering from, according to her family members.
Garcia, a teacher, died just as Coronavirus is peaking in Venezuela, although the official cause of her death was asthma. Relatives of the dead woman say hospitals were ill-equipped to deal with a case such as the García one.
The older Garcia cries as he recounts what happened. He feels helpless and angry because he didn’t have the chance to save her daughter. “And that hurts,” he laments.
On Friday, September 4, Isbel woke up with difficulty breathing. She had asthma since she was a child, so among her things, there was always a nebulizer.
However, this equipment was not able to lessen Isbel’s symptoms, and the pressure she felt in her chest became more and more acute until she fainted. Her 17-year-old daughter tried to help her and decided to take her to Santa Teresa de Jesus Hospital, confident that her mother would overcome the crisis.
With the help of a neighbor, Isbel was transferred from the El Palmar de Santa Teresa development to the health center, which is about eight minutes away. At the same time, Isidro arrived, concerned, already aware of the situation. From that moment on, a similar agony began. It was 6:30 am.
No less than four pharmacies Isidro walked through looking for an eyedropper. There were none in the health center. When he returned with the dispenser, he got informed that they did not have oxygen either, although Isbel was already receiving treatment. The family saw an alternative to looking for the nebulizer that was at home. Isidro went to get it. By this time, the clock struck 7:15 am.
Isidro remembers that while he was on the road, he would cheer up, remembering that his daughter always came out of her asthma attacks with flying colors, but when he arrived at the hospital with the nebulizer, 15 minutes later, his daughter had stopped breathing.
Isidro knows that the pain he feels today will be with him forever, as it was with his wife, who is devastated. However, he hopes that what happened will call the attention of the authorities so that the hospitals get equipped. He hopes that no one else in Venezuelan dies for lack of medical supplies.
Isbel Garcia Robles was an educator. She was a widow. Her father described her as intelligent, affectionate, happy, and in general, as a family person.
Civic rally called
A source linked to the Santa Teresa hospital, who asked to keep his name in reserve, reported that the health center has a total of seven oxygen cylinders that get filled on Tuesdays or Thursdays. However, when Isbel arrived at the emergency room, the cylinder there was empty.
El Pitazo tried to contact Dr. Evi Padilla, director of the health center, but he was unavailable.
Tuesday, September 8, a group of residents of Santa Teresa is calling for a civic rally at the health center to seek solutions. They are concerned about the lack of medical supplies and primary care.