26 | JUN | 2019
Mexican doctors improvise to save lives
Images of different objects being used as medical supplies went viral - Photo: Taken from social media

Mexican doctors improvise to save lives

03/03/2019
13:47
Perla Miranda
Mexico City
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Health professionals used the hashtags #YoTambiénImproviso and #TodosImprovisamos to support their colleagues in Sonora

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in 2004, Arturo Díaz was a medical student. He was surprised when one of his professors built a nebulizer using an empty soda bottle to prevent the death of a patient who was suffering an asthmatic crisis. Now, 15 years later, Arturo is an anesthesia and resuscitation expert but he still has to improvise because of the lack of supplies and equipment in the hospital where he works.

On February 19, the image of an empty water jug being used as a cephalic helmet to provide oxygen to a baby went viral. This took place at a community hospital in Magdalena de Kino, in Sonora.

Gustavo Leal Fernández, an expert of health policies from the UAM explains that the lack of supplies, medicines, and equipment in public hospitals is nothing new for the three government levels but they haven't been able to eradicate the problem and hopes that the new Health Minister, Jorge Alcocer Varela, will pay attention to the needs of hospitals and its employees.

“There are heroic actions performed by a doctor every day. A characteristic of Mexican medicine is that they work with what is available, then, instead of dismissing the hospital director in Sonora, they should have to check the conditions in which they (the doctors) work.”

#IAlsoImprovise

After the image went viral, hundreds of Facebook and Twitter users criticized the hospital director and the doctors for the use of an empty water jug to provide oxygen to a baby, health professionals used the hashtags #YoTambiénImproviso (#IAlsoImprovise) and #TodosImprovisamos (#WeAllImprovise) to support their colleagues in Sonora.

Doctors, nurses, and many other health professionals shared images of them using plastic bags, sheets, tape, empty water jugs and bottles, condoms, Christmas lights, shopping carts, and many other materials to treat their patients.

Shortage and lack of supplies

In March 2017, a report from the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks revealed that at least 122 health facilities presented anomalies in regards to salubrity.

The report emphasized that there were dirty bedclothes, dirt in several areas, lack of supplies such as gauzes and syringes, as well as the lack of hygiene when cooking food and when applying medicines

During the visits carried out by the regulatory commission, it was found that many hospitals didn't have enough staff and that not all doctors had graduated. They also found expired medicines, inefficient cleaning, an excess of dust, non-sterilized medical equipment, and a shortage of medicines.

Gustavo Leal Fernández, as well as health professionals and society, hope that the new administration improves the conditions of the health sector so that doctors no longer have to improvise to save lives.

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