Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico Miguel Enríquez, conocido como La Benéfica, en La Habana. Foto: mapio.net / Archivo.

Cuba: Health authorities report on the death of a young autistic man in Havana

Cuban health authorities reported on the case of a young autistic man who died days ago in Havanawho gained visibility on social networks and independent media after his family’s complaint.

In this regard, the Provincial Health Directorate of the island’s capital reported that following this complaint, centered on the delay and refusal of an ambulance to transport the young man to a hospital, a commission was created “which proceeded to investigate the facts”.

The health entity confirmed that the deceased, named Andy Agüero Barrios, was a 26-year-old male patient, with a history of autism and visual impairment secondary to Hereditary Optic Neuritis (Leber’s Disease), who had presented fever on June 24 , diarrhea and vomiting.

According to the official note, after a medical evaluation at home, the doctor proposed the young man’s hospital admission, “which the mother refused twice.”

“Given the family’s refusal, follow-up is maintained at home with medical treatment,” the statement specifies, noting that on July 13 he was again assessed “for presenting diarrheal stools, proceeding to carry out studies at the polyclinic that are altered and decide to refer.

“During his stay in the emergency room, he received medical care at all times, until he was transferred by the Integrated Emergency Medical System to the emergency room of the Miguel Enríquez Clinical-Surgical Hospital, where he was received by the institution’s emergency team,” information continues.

Already in the hospital, and after his clinical condition worsened, “later he presented a cardio-respiratory arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed to which he did not respond and the patient died at 6:00 pm,” adds the Directorate of Salud de La Habana, according to which “the directors of the hospital and the acting doctors requested an autopsy to determine the cause of death, which the family refused.”

Finally, the note indicates that “in a visit to the home, the information provided by the maternal grandmother revealed the dissatisfaction with the quality of care by the ambulance crew that transferred the patient from the polyclinic to the hospital, which was verified during the investigation carried out and, consequently, the corresponding measures will be adopted.”

The official communication, however, does not mention —nor does it deny— the long wait for an ambulance to transport the young man from a polyclinic in Cotorro to the hospital, as reported by the mother of the deceased, who also reported the refusal of an ambulance that arrived at the scene.

According to some publications on networks, that ambulance was already transporting a seriously ill patient, something that the highest authority of Health in Havana neither refers nor denies.

After learning of Andy’s death, numerous people have shown solidarity with his family and have criticized the actions of the medical emergency system in Cuba in this and other cases. In particular, complaints have multiplied over the insufficiencies of the ambulance fleet on the Island and the treatment provided by some crews.

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