Mex­i­cans pre­fer dy­ing at home

FEAR OF HOS­PI­TALS

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - WORLD - AFP.

When Ur­diain and his wife fell ill, they chose to stay at their home in Mex­ico City rather than put their trust in the creak­ing pub­lic health sys­tem

MEX­ICO CITY (AFP) — By the time 61-year-old Mex­i­can me­chanic Martin Ur­diain fi­nally de­cided to go to hos­pi­tal to seek treat­ment for the coro­n­avirus, it was al­ready too late. He died the next day. When Ur­diain and his wife fell ill, they chose to stay at their home in Mex­ico City rather than put their trust in the creak­ing pub­lic health sys­tem. Af­ter their symp­toms wors­ened, they even bought two me­chan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tors for $3,400 in­stead of go­ing to hos­pi­tal. “He was sus­pi­cious be­cause he saw on the news about the over­flow­ing hos­pi­tals, and poor care, but in the end he felt worse and fi­nally went,” Ur­diain’s brother Al­fredo told

Ur­diain died on 17 June, while his wife re­cov­ered with­out hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. In Mex­ico, it is com­mon to hear of peo­ple choos­ing to fight the virus on their own at home, some­times re­fus­ing to be taken to hos­pi­tal by paramedics.

The gov­ern­ment has rec­og­nized that the health sys­tem has suf­fered from years of ne­glect, but says it is work­ing to im­prove stan­dards.

When the pan­demic be­gan, Mex­ico had a short­age of 200,000 doc­tors and 300,000 nurses, prompt­ing the health min­istry to em­bark on a ma­jor hir­ing spree.

It also scram­bled to re­fur­bish a thou­sand hos­pi­tals and buy sup­plies with an in­vest­ment of $1.9 bil­lion.

‘I’ll never re­turn’

Rather than set foot in hos­pi­tal, Jes­sica Castillo en­dured a week at home in Hi­dalgo state in cen­tral Mex­ico where she even had sui­ci­dal thoughts, the 43-year-old pas­try chef said.

“I felt that the air I was breath­ing wasn’t en­ter­ing my lungs, but I said ‘If I go to hos­pi­tal, I’ll never re­turn.’”

Castillo, who suf­fers from di­a­betes and hy­per­ten­sion, said her dis­trust of the pub­lic health sys­tem stems from the poor care she re­ceived be­fore the pan­demic.

“I don’t be­lieve them. They’ve hurt me a lot phys­i­cally, and emo­tion­ally.

“I haven’t even been for medicine for my di­a­betes for about three years. I pre­fer to buy it else­where,” said Castillo, who took more than a month to re­cover from the virus.

With more than 73,000 deaths, Mex­ico has the world’s fourth-high­est COVID-19 toll, al­though the gov­ern­ment says that is partly due to its large pop­u­la­tion.

The coun­try of 128 mil­lion has of­fi­cially reg­is­tered nearly 700,000 coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions.

PE­DRO PARDO/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HEALTH work­ers go door to door look­ing for peo­ple with coro­n­avirus symp­toms in Tlapa de Comonfort in the south­ern state of Guer­rero.

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