http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/24-die-in-cuba-hospital-due-to-cold-weather...-and-us-embargo/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

24 die in Cuba hospital due to cold weather… and US Embargo

Posted January 15, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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Reuters | Jeff Franks

Twenty-four patients in Havana’s main mental hospital died of hypothermia this week, a Cuban human rights group said on Thursday, in what it called an act of negligence.

Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights, said the patients were not properly protected from temperatures that dipped into the low 40s (about 5 or 6 Celsius) during an unusual, extended cold snap on the tropical island.

“The people were not covered up and many windows and doors at the hospital are broken, so they were not protected,” he told Reuters. “Many of these patients are incapacitated and they cannot care for themselves.”

He called the deaths “unprecedented” in Cuba and accused the Cuban government of “criminal negligence.”

Sanchez, a frequent critic of the Cuban government, said there were “growing signs of deterioration in the national health system,” including run-down facilities and shortages of medicines.

A spokesman for the government said he had not heard of the report, but that it sounded unlikely, given the “high quality of the hospital and the source of the information.”

He said it was not unusual for people to die in hospitals and it was more likely the patients died of other causes.

Cuba provides free universal health care for its citizens and prides itself on having a strong system, despite its economic problems.

Cubans complain that some facilities are not in good condition, but the Cuban government says many of its problems arise from its inability to get medical equipment and medicines due to the longstanding U.S. trade embargo against the Communist-led island.

Member Comments

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On January 15, 2010, publisher wrote:

The Cuban government is looking pretty silly with some of their comments here…

“high quality of the hospital and the source of the information.”

Broken windows and doors and the “source” of the information. So 24 people did not die in the hospital?

“inability to get medical equipment and medicines due to the longstanding U.S. trade embargo”

Really? China or Venezuela doesn’t sell medical equipment or medicine?

I thought Cuba’s healthcare system was the model for all the world to follow? Oh right, their medical system for foreigners maybe.

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On January 15, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

Because of the embargo the Castro government is unable to buy comforters in the US.

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On January 16, 2010, publisher wrote:

So much for that “source” of information now that Prensa Latina has confirmed the deaths.

Funny to watch Cuban officials blame everyone but themselves.

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On January 17, 2010, rogdix wrote:

As always, - no Embargo, - no Castro. He survives on it. Pathetic.

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On January 29, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

In Canada old people are euthanize by the simple fact that they cannot feed for themselves…Its up to the family to be there and assist with the feeding process we are told…

Is it the same system Obama is trying to get for the USA?

Remember France and the thousands death in the hospitals from an heat wave few years ago…The minister avoid the blame.

Well for Cuba, we need to invade or starve them because of this.

Why dont we sue Al Gore and his lies about “Global Warming” 5 degrees in Cuba thats a first!

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On February 01, 2010, howarde12 wrote:

There’s a picture on Therealcuba.com of a mental hospital in Havana, with many of the patients unclothed. The doors and windows are broken.
There is no embargo on medicines from the U.S., nor any problem with getting them from Europe or Mexico.
And, for blankets, why could they not requisition them from the hotels and rush them to the asylums or hospitals, which most likely would take less than an hour. They must certainly have spare blankets, sheets, comforters and food at the restorts, and the tourists would not object to sharing in an emergency such as that. 
All signs point to ineptitude, pure and simple.  Pass the buck, Fidel, pass the buck again.  He’s such a darling that no Liberal or Socialist wants to criticize him.

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On February 01, 2010, Goldbuster wrote:

Maybe they should ask the US to open its Airspace to allow the Miami Cubans to send anti-Global warming blankets and heaters to help Cuba under this Global Cooling tragedy.

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On March 21, 2010, publisher wrote:

Yoani Sanchez has written a blog post and posted photos of several of the dead Cuban patients. The photos are not easy to look at.

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On March 21, 2010, rogdix wrote:

GOLDBUSTER says - “In Canada old people are euthanize by the simple fact that they cannot feed for themselves…Its up to the family to be there and assist with the feeding process we are told…”  Who is “told,” and by whom? Why don’t you check for yourself?

Absolute rubbish and not worth a further response. Friend, your credibility is demolished on this and, by inference, any other topic you may write about.

Signed:
A happy healthy Canadian (70 yrs old.)