Due to a lack of doctors and medical personnel, the intensive care unit of Durand Children’s Hospital has closed. Patients have been directed to private health clinics and other public hospitals located within Buenos Aires since last Monday.
In response to the closure, two representatives of the city legislature, Juan Cabandié and Gabriela Alegre, demanded that government officials promptly appoint medical professionals to the facility and assure that the hospital has enough resources to continue providing care.
According to comments given by Alegre to Pagina 12, the unit is a key health centre for residents of the entire region, but needs eight pediatric specialists and at least eighteen nurses in order to function properly. The representative added that “in 2011, the unit operated with four doctors, who were supposed to cover every shift of the week, and nine nurses, only two of whom were specifically trained in intensive care.”
Hospital Durand has been at the heart of a debate surrounding the scarcity of funds allocated to public services. Even though Buenos Aires remains the richest district in Argentina, hospitals are short-staffed and medical personnel decry the substandard infrastructure and absence of up-to-date technology.
The closure comes a week after an investigation revealed that the infant mortality rate rose 26% over the past year. The city government has been blamed for failing to distribute $320million earmarked for improving maternal health.