Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

Dec. 29, 1999

WORKERS ASK WHETHER CUBAN DOCTORS ARE QUALIFIED TO PROVIDE CERTIFICATES? By Ileana González Rodríguez of the CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- The writer works at a Havana hospital in La Esperanza area of the Arroyo Naranjo neighborhood's Julio Trigo hospital. Its director is a doctor named Teofilo Garcia de la Cruz. This doctor has established a restriction which places in doubt the professionalism of all the physicians under his watch.

From now on, he said, all certificates issued by doctors must be reviewed by the hospital's governing board so that the director himself or one of his appointees can audit, amend or even cancel the order, depending on each individual case.

Many physicians at the hospital are asking themselves, "Isn't each doctor assigned to a case competent enough to determine how many days a person must stay out of work? Why should the director have the ability to modify or even cancel the number of days off a patient may be granted?

This practice has led widespread disappointment among the doctors since they are ones in charge of their patients and believe their opinions should be respected.

The writer has had such an experience. The director first canceled a certificate issued by my family doctor directing time off for 15 days because of a diagnosis that I had diabetes melitus. According to common practice, this diagnosis should require up to 30 days of rest. More recently the director canceled a medical certificate issued by a surgeon who learned that my recent surgery had become infected. The director said that if I was able to attend "subversive gatherings," I could very well go back to work with the infected wound.

I haven't been doing any subversive activity but agents of the Office of State Security arrested me in my own home, arbitrarily, not caring for the fact that I am sick.

This hospital director has created a climate of distrust towards the doctors that hurts all concerned. These physicians do have the ability to prescribe medical certificates according to their diagnoses or to the results of tests conducted on their patients or at least that's the way it should be. Hence, people ask, "Are they qualified or not?"

Ileana González Rodríguez of the CTDC, for Cuba Free Press.


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