- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2013

Venezuela’s government-run health care system is in shambles, with doctors sending cancer patients home and ill citizens suffering everything from tumors to glaucoma.

The Associated Press reported that the government in Venezuela has clamped down on medical supply purchases and doled out medical services based on perceived needs, in order to control costs. But that’s left many untreated. Doctors have even started sending home cancer patients because they didn’t have the proper equipment to treat them, due largely to government mandates and price limits, AP reported.

“I feel like I’ve been abandoned,” Evelina Gonzalez, who was supposed to have breast cancer surgery after undergoing chemotherapy, told the Associated Press. But doctors couldn’t find a hospital with an open operating table.

Meanwhile, her tumor has doubled in size, and her right eye is swollen from glaucoma that has went untreated for two years because she couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment.

Doctors in the nation say she’s one of many suffering from government mismanagement of the state-run health care system. Private hospitals are over-tasked, and while the nation has seen the opening of hundreds of clinics, those facilities don’t treat serious illnesses, AP reported.

Government caps on health care treatments are putting doctors in a serious pinch.

“The health care crisis is an economic crisis,” said Dr. Jose Luis Lopez, who heads up the labs at the Municipal Blood Bank in Caracas, in the AP report. “It is not a medical crisis.”


• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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