Military denies gasoline to kidney patients in Zulia

Patients stopped their treatment, as military authorities at the only working fuel station in this zone from Zulia state refuse to sell them fuel despite the medical reports.

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Patients at the Pedro Garcia Clara did not complete their dialysis sessions due to gasoline shortages. l Photo: Mayreth Casanova.

At least 70 kidney patients from the dialysis unit of the Pedro Garcia Clara Hospital in Ciudad Ojeda, in Zulia state, denounce that they couldn’t get treatment, because of the lack of fuel, after the suspension of fuel sales by the Zulian authorities.

Thursday, March 19th, a group of patients couldn´t attend their dialysis session due to gasoline shortages since they reside in far away municipalities such as Baralt, Cabimas, Simon Bolivar and Valmore Rodriguez.

The patients who live in Bachaquero and Mene Grande, located one hour from Ciudad Ojeda, did not dialyze since the suburban bus routes are also paralyzed by the shortage of gasoline.

“The dialysis sessions are three times a week and the schedules are establishing to attend to the 70 patients, so they cannot be re-schedule due to the lack of operating machines,” said a family member who chose not to identify himself.

On March 15, Redi Occidente chief Ovidio Delgado, at a press conference with Zulia governor Omar Prieto, reported that the supply of gasoline would be guaranteed for vehicles that operate in the provision of essential services such as food, medicine, transportation, water, and telecommunications.

Kidney patients from Ciudad Ojeda claim to have medical reports but military authorities at the fuel station in Lagunillas, and other municipalities on the eastern shore of the lake, refuse to fill up with fuel.

“We ask the authorities to give us a safe-permit so that we can fill our cars and mobilize the patients. National Guard officials say it’s not a priority,” said Maria Mendez, a family member of a patient.

The situation worries the patients and their families, and they propose to the hospital’s board that it arranges transportation to mobilize the patient, family members and the staff of the dialysis unit.

In the case of the water supply, which the hemodialysis equipment requires, the patients asking the Lagunillas mayor a permits to the tanker truck drivers who deliver water to the hospital. “They are not given priority at the filling station, and when they load they are sent to other areas,” concludes Méndez.

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