The death of Camilo Meléndez Cano, who was a worker in the National Assembly, shows one of the great problems that are occurring in private hospitals and pension clinics in Nicaragua, and is the fact that they do not have the tests to perform them on patients who arrive with symptoms of the new Covid-19 coronavirus and verify that they are positive.
Due to this restriction, in death certificates issued by private and pension hospitals, “unusual severe pneumonia” and “acute respiratory failure” are listed as the cause of the deaths of the patients, who, like Camilo Meléndez, arrived with evident symptoms of have the virus.
The lack of information is what most annoys Henry Meléndez, Camilo’s brother, in addition to other failures that, he claimed, the pensioner’s doctors had because “they did not take care of him correctly.”
In a period of approximately 12 days, Camilo Meléndez became ill and died. Henry Meléndez explained that he accompanied his brother from the day he called him to bring him to the National Assembly, because he felt bad.
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“I had a bit of a stomach ache and a fever,” Henry recalled. He then took his brother to the pension clinic where the doctor who treated him would have minimized Camilo’s symptoms, since Henry assured that they only gave acetominophen and sent him two days of subsidy.
The following days they returned twice more to the medical clinic because Camilo was getting worse. The fever he suffered was up to 38 degrees and he had respiratory problems. They nebulized him, but the doctors sent him back to his home to rest.
“He was never tested to see if it was a coronavirus,” said Henry. Unfortunately, in this country, Minsa does not allow private hospitals to do these tests. That is not correct », he pointed out.
The lines of family members are waiting daily for news of their sick patients with Covid-19 at the German Nicaraguan hospital LA PRENSA / OSCAR NAVARRETE
Daniel Ortega’s regime did not authorize private medical centers to purchase the tests to perform coronavirus tests, which are essential to detect the infected in time and stop the virus from spreading. Nor has it provided the tests, despite the fact that the Central American Bank for Economic Development (CABEI) donated 26,000 rapid tests to detect Covid-19, a donation that until now the Minsa has not reported if they have been used.
The Nicaraguan Medical Unit (UMN) has denounced that this restriction is one of the ways in which the dictatorship tries to hide the real figures of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, because only in public hospitals is the examination of Selective cases, selectively and not generally, to everyone who has symptoms of the flu or other respiratory symptoms.
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Henry Melendez claimed “by the great lie, the falsehoods that we have been told that we were prepared to face this disease” by the regime. He does not think it is correct to continue “with the manipulation” of the spread of the virus, as well as “the lack of communication, because the information on how to protect ourselves is sought by each of us on our own,” he said.
Camilo Meléndez worked 18 years in the National Assembly in the maintenance area, where among his responsibilities was the electrical system and the operation of the elevators. In those years he earned the affection of his colleagues, the respect and appreciation of the deputies of the different benches. His work performance earned him, on three occasions, recognition as one of the best workers.
Henry criticized that the doctors who attended Camilo in the pension clinic did not ask Minsa to send personnel to carry out the test to check if his brother had the Covid-19 virus, so he also pointed them out as responsible for the family’s being he was left with the suspicion that this was the disease that killed him.
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Camilo Meléndez, 46, died last Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 in the morning, from a respiratory arrest, according to what his relatives were told. In the death certificate, “acute respiratory failure” and “unusual severe pneumonia” appear as causes. His burial was that same day at 5:30 in the afternoon at the Managua Peripheral Cemetery.
It was carried out with the protocol established by the Minsa for coronavirus cases. Funeral staff in anti-virus suits were responsible for moving the coffin hermetically sealed with Camilo’s body. Their relatives were allowed to witness the burial but at a distance from the grave where the brother, son, husband and father of two young people remained.
The population applies its own measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. LA PRENSA / OSCAR NAVARRETE
Medical Association demands to allow private testing
Javier Núñez, vice president of the Nicaraguan Medical Association (AMN) pointed out that “it is criminal” that the Minsa authorities have the tests for Covid-19 and not carry them out on every suspected patient, as well as that it continues to be restricted to hospitals and private clinics take the exams.
“To think that if they have a test and they do not do it, it is criminal, because if you have the tests, they must do it to every suspected patient to identify the cases, attend to them in a timely manner, because it is the way to reduce the contagion curve, which will only increase in Nicaragua” , affirmed doctor Núñez.
The UMN demanded that the tests for coronavirus be decentralized so that all hospitals and public and private clinics have the capacity to identify positive patients, warning that the policy of “wanting to mask” the number of real cases is being led to a health catastrophe in Nicaragua.
Officially, the Minsa reported 279 confirmed cases, of which 17 have died. They have followed up on 470 people suspected of carrying the virus. These are figures that do not contrast with the situation in hospitals, especially public ones where it is reported that they are saturated with patients, and for the “nightly express” burials that are known daily.
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The Citizen Observatory, an association of independent doctors, reported a cumulative of 1,594 suspected Covid-19 cases that would include the Minsa data. Their reports record 351 deaths from pneumonia and coronavirus suspects, with the departments reporting the most deaths being Managua, Chinandega and Masaya.
Dr. Núñez pointed out that there is a second possibility and that is that the Minsa does not have enough tests to carry out massive tests, which would be part of the negligence with which the pandemic has been treated since they had to make purchases in time to supply to the entire health system.
“It is easier to do the tests, which can cost you between 10 to 15 dollars each, because this way you will detect the greatest number of cases of patients with the virus in a timely manner, start treating it and confine it at home. It is more expensive to have a person in a hospital under treatment and connected to ventilators, that economic cost can go up to 10,000 dollars, “said the specialist.