Mexican medical students are threatened and attacked by criminals

The states with more cases of aggressions against medical students are Nayarit, with 15; Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí, with 11 each; Guerrero, 10; Hidalgo, 7, and Campeche, with 4.

Medical students, around 14,000 in Mexico, are required to do 12 months of social service, compared to 6 in other professions. (Photo: Archive / EL UNIVERSAL)
English 07/02/2016 13:25 Actualizada 13:25
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By Andrés M. Estrada 

Lying on the floor, with her hands trembling and terrified by fear, Karen Valverde desperately tried to get signal. Her colleagues, three medical students, also tried to get help. But mobile reception failed at the health center of Santiago Tepetitlán in San Martín de las Pirámides, State of Mexico.

Ten minutes before they had heard footsteps outside the health center. They thought it was a patient, so one of the students asked what they wanted from the window. Outside, in the darkness of midnight on a Saturday in November 2013, three subjects responded: "You are screwed, we know you have women inside, so bring them out." And they started stoning the building.

Stories similar to this one of the students of the Tominaga Nakamoto University have been reported in at least 21 states from January 2007 to December 2015.

Mexico's Ministry of Health (SSA) documented 34 reports of threats and attacks against medicine students from 12 public and private institutions, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG), the Autonomous University of Nayarit ( UAN), the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP), Universidad del Valle de México (UVM) and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), according to documents obtained by EL UNIVERSAL.

However the IPN says that from January 2007 to September 2015, its students filed 50 complaints. The sum of both reports gives 84.

The states with more cases of aggressions against medical students are Nayarit, with 15; Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí, with 11 each; Guerrero, 10; Hidalgo, 7, and Campeche, with 4. Next are Jalisco, Colima, Guanajuato, Tlaxcala and Oaxaca, with three each; Veracruz, Morelos and the State of Mexico, with two each, and Puebla, Querétaro, Sinaloa, Yucatán and Quintana Roo, with one each. The years with more attacks were 2015, with 15; 2009, with 14 and 2008, with 10.

Medical students, around 14,000 in Mexico, are required to do 12 months of social service, compared to 6 in other professions.

Often threats or attacks are not reported out of fear of reprisals or omissions by authorities. Dr. Ricardo León Bórquez, president of the Mexican Association of Colleges and Schools of Medicine (AMFEM) said that there are around 10 cases of threats every month, according to their records for the past five years, i.e. a total of 600, and added that the states with the highest incidence are Guerrero, Michoacán and Chihuahua.

Some of the incidents against medical students reported by the Health Ministry and the IPN are threats and attacks by neighbors and patients; robberies, insecurity at health centers; rape and attempted rape; sexual harassment, death threats, beatings and armed persons seeking medical attention.

Sometimes criminals blindfold doctors and take them to give medical assistance to criminals injured in armed clashes, the AMFEM said.

 

 

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