By Mariangel Moro Colmenarez.
Three kidney patients died in July alone in the state of Portuguesa, due to the poor quality of the treatments they received.
A group of another 46 patients affected reported the situation: hemodialysis machines going out of service at the Portuguesa Dialysis Unit, located in Acarigua.
According to Maria del Pilar Alvarez, spokesperson for the kidney patients, the three patients of the dialysis unit, who died in July, lost their lives due to the poor quality of the hemodialysis they received.
“We have been several months in crisis. On Tuesday, we had only one machine, today we were able to turn on another, but two machines are not enough for all the people who depend on them and who come to this place,” she said.
The patients say that the service at the facility began deteriorating when the Maduro regime, through the IVSS, took control over that center.
The complainants have asked the regional authorities for immediate relocation to a different health-care center, where they could receive the treatment, also based in this city in the Llanos region.
Two years ago, the dialysis unit counted 20 machines; nowadays, only two remained operational, not enough to attend to the number of patients that receive their treatments in this place, which despite being a private service, now depends on the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS).
The institute, controlled by the Maduro administration, supervise all aspects of kidney disease in Venezuela, including treatment, transplants, and the provision of drugs.
Norbis Fernandez, another patient, said that the death figures for kidney patients from January to July reached 13 deaths, and could increase because of the few hours that the patients get connected to the machines.
“We are getting two hours of dialysis when we should be on for three and a half hours. We ask that if the people in charge of this unit are not going to show up and no one will take care of fixing the machines, that they please relocate us to Seneca, Nephrological Services,” he said.
According to José Alexis Narvaez, the president of the Association of Renal Patients of the state of Portuguesa, the fewer operational machines means that staff has unilaterally reduced the length of hemodialysis sessions to two and a half hours which is detrimental to the health of kidney patients.
Narvaez explained that various complications caused the recent deaths.
“With two or three operating machines, we can only tend to nine patients, and that is in a running schedule of approximately 10 hours. We are 46 here, which means that the rest do not receive dialysis and are at risk of dying because the blood is not purified, which is vital for us,” said Narvaez.
The situation got exposed to the authorities of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (Ivss). Patients think that denied them the fundamental right granted in the Constitution and international treaties, such as the right to life.