Find Us

In Venezuela a small scratch can be fatal

In Venezuela a small scratch can be fatal
By Euronews
Published on
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Because of a disastrous economic crisis, in the 'oil rich' country, Venezuelan hospitals cannot cope and many are dying.


In Venezuela a small scratch can become a matter of life and death. Lack of antibiotics, put three-year-old Ashely’s life at risk and almost led to her leg being amputated. As her mother Oriana explained, it all started with a simple grazed knee, which she had even cleaned with alcohol: “She fell down and scratched herself. I mean, we never expected that a scratch would cause all of this. Then, two weeks later, she had a reaction. She got arthritis, septic arthritis.”

Ashley’s pediatrician, Dr Richard Rangel talked about how Ashley’s situation became so drastic, so quickly: “Maykelis (Ashley) Pacheco is a three-year-old girl who was admitted to our hospital for a skin infection caused by a resistant germ.

Dr Rangel continued: “This germ reached her blood, from there it went to her lungs and caused pneumonia, which subsequently caused an additional infection in her heart – an Endocarditis (an infection in the inner lining of the heart). In order to eradicate or take control of the infection, she should have initially received a course of Vancomycin, but she was unable to receive it because no one had the drug.”

The scale of the crisis

Last Spring Dr Rangel witnessed the deaths of five children in one week through lack of antibiotics.

Public hospitals have even run out of basic equipment like soap and alcohol. The number of beds has fallen 40% since 2014, and diagnostic facilities are out of service. According to government sources,one in three patients admitted to public hospitals last year died.

Dying infants and no medicine: Inside Venezuela's failing hospitals

— Roy Crockett (@rcrockett) 20 septembre 2016

One of the lucky ones

It is thanks to her parents that Ashley is alive today. They queued for hours to get an appointment in a private clinic, and to buy medicine. They sold everything to save their child. But as the situation worsens, countless other parents are unable to do the same for their children.

After two months in hospital, Ashley was finally given the all clear and allowed to return home at the end of September.

76%of hospitals in #Venezuela are experiencing medicine and supply shortages. Healthcare crisis. ElNacionalWeb</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Michael Welling (WellingMichael) 27 août 2016

In 2015 the mortality rate for under one-month-olds in Venezuelan Public Hospitals shot up 100 fold to 2% from 0.02% in 2012.

US: Babies kept in cardboard boxes at cash-strapped Venezuela hospital,Experts said that most of the hospitals…

— Ghananewsline (@Ghananewsline1) 23 septembre 2016

Venezuela’s disastrous economic crisis has made avoidable situations like this common place yet the government has reportedly refused offers of humanitarian aid.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Are Russian submarines in the Caribbean a direct threat to NATO?

Venezuela revokes invitation for European Union mission to observe presidential election in July

WATCH: Maduro joins Caracas evangelicals in defense of traditional family values