The State of our Public Hospitals in four and a half minutes

For all that we have written about the terrible state of our public healthcare system, sometimes is difficult to convey into words how bad it is. But images can speak louder than words, and this report – made by Venezuelan photojournalist Betty Laura Zapata – for UK’s Channel 4 News is quite powerful.

Zapata (who resides in London) returned to Venezuela last year and for two months she shot inside several public hospitals. As she describes:

…doing my own research was the only way to build up a picture of what is really happening. I interviewed doctors, nurses, patients, administrative staff and ambulance drivers.

Few were able to talk to me openly, or felt comfortable giving me their names, for fear of losing their jobs for talking without official permission. But the situation they described was shocking.

And shocking it is indeed. I don’t wanna spoil it for you, just watch it. Warning for graphic images. Nice things you’re defending, Mr. Corbyn…

If you want to see more of Zapata’s work, go to her website and see more pictures of the Project X-Ray, for which she got recognition.

18 thoughts on “The State of our Public Hospitals in four and a half minutes

  1. I like to think these reports cherry-pick the worst of the worst and the norm isn’t this bad, but what do I know?

    I am sure I am not the only one depending on CC participants still living in Vzla. for the true story. Many thanks to you all.


  2. When you have 25,000 Murders, Violent Deaths per year how many more are wounded, badly treated at hospitals and then permanently scarred, amputated or dead later, unaccounted for? 50,000 more, per year?

    Half a Million wounded or sick people badly treated, when treated at all, at horrible hospitals so far during Chavismo? Probably a lot more.

    And the MUD is already offering forgiveness and complete Amnesty to everyone involved.

    Thousands of Criminals responsible for this tragedy, a virtual Genocide, plus the Millions of Malandros that survive this War, will be free on the streets, along with the 3 Million Chavista Government employees.

    They will all work together to combat crime, for a better Vzla… Except that when they fail to control the Gangs or curb the Death toll to less than 15,000 Dead per month, there will still be a shortage of doctors and qualified nurses to work at ravaged hospitals: they left long ago, by the thousands, even Cuban doctors got the hell out of that War zone.

    Oh, but we can trust the Corrupt Military, the Despicable “Police” and the putrid Guardia Nazional to bring Peace in no time to the 2nd bloodiest country on planet Earth.. They will have the situation under control soon after the MUD “wins” by 55% in December or Capriles becomes President sometime after the Presidential elections are stolen again.. Dealing with the same thugs, gangs, and 60% pro-Chavista population that is responsible for this entire disaster. They’ll raise taxes and Gas prices, apply the necessary tough economic measures of austerity, and stop the corruption, the freebies, the bachaqueo and the Tigritos.. People will be happy and calm in the streets, a happy and peaceful reconciliation everywhere..

    This is just one of the many reasons no “ad/copey/vp/vv/chavista MUD” ‘democracy’ will be able to tackle such severe and profound problems in decades to come. Only some sort of corrective authoritarian regime could stop the bleeding. How were Chilean Hospitals during Pinochet’s tenure? Yes, he killed 3000 people in 17 years. But far from 250,000 in 17 years of Chavismo. Or 10,000 dead per year you can certainly expect, at least, under any MUD-Chavista-light government to come next in Murderzuela. And look at Chile or Singapore today. The hospitals can’t certainly get much worse under the next MUDcrap government, they can only improve, but crime will hardly get much better.


  3. I have been Volunteer Firefighter for almost 20 years by now, I can testify how our Hospitals and First Responder services has been deteriorating in the latest years.

    In my opinion, Mrs. Zapata has only merely scratched the surface …

    And the worst is coming….


    • Sir

      Was there at any point where it was improving over the last 20 years? Or was it slowly detoriating until the last several years when it just rapidly imploded? Or something else



    • As a firefighter you probably know how this will look the day after the expected earthquake, I honestly hope we don’t get one until we change governments and things get better. If not, we will see a few white vessels in La Guaira like Haiti did a few years ago


  4. “And the worst is coming….”

    I agree. Things are going to get even worse before the slooooowly start to get just a little bit better, with whatever MUD Vzla ends up with.

    Perhaps the 60%+ Chavistas, including 30% who still support Masburrismo need a couple more decades of “Patria de la buena”. Maybe around 2030 they will realize that la Guerra Economica de la Ultra Derecha perhaps was not true, etc, etc. Maybe when Kleptozuela is as screwed as Haiti or Syria, or even worse..


  5. Vzla. cannot now even be considered a “Developing Country”. This looks like something out of the Middle Ages. Apparently still not grim enough for rebellion in the country however. I’m sure, anywhere else in South America there would be outrage by the general populace.


  6. I have immediate family working in these very hospitals. It’s worse than is shown here. The situation with the morgues is a national disgrace. Children are dying of dehydration. Virtually every doctor who can get the hell out of the country is doing so because the situation is not fixable under current circumstances and professional standards and dignity have been entirely compromised. Often time there are no supplies whatsoever and doctors have to simply watch people die. The whole thing is not only tragic but a crime against humanity. Que lastima!



      • Because the one that has to have the full blame from this mess is the corpse, to stop and destroy any attempt from chavismo to ever returning to power in any time in the future after their regime is ended.


  7. The video is not very telling… I find that the Norwegian clip from a couple of years back was even better. A quick google search shows this: although I don’t think this is the original footage.

    I think the greatest decline in our hospitals came after 2009-2010. Not really sure why, but most of my colleagues feel that was the inflection point. I left a couple of years earlier.

    Nothing that you see in those videos can truly show the reality of a Venezuelan hospital. The combination of decaying infrastructure, lack of medical resources, shortage of personnel, and crime; it’s just appalling. I once went through a full surgical rotation in the mid 2000’s, and throughout this time the UCV University Hospital had only one functioning O; we spent most of the time patching up gunshot wounds. Nothing can describe a guy walking into the ER with 17 gunshot wounds gasping for air. I also witnessed a couple of murders in the hospital where gangs came to finish the job after we spent hours in surgery trying to save someone.

    Even worse is the state of our ambulance system, the very few we have spend most of the time just driving around hoping a hospital will take a patient. I once rode in an ambulance and used connections to get a 15 y/o girl admitted to the HUC (she was injured in a hit and run and arrived at my primary care emergency service unit). I knew that she wouldn’t receive any care unless I pulled strings, and that meant riding with her and leaving the ambulance bed in the hospital all night because there were no beds for her. My boss picked me up 3 am (6 hours later) from the hospital and drove me back to work because I only had an intern covering up for me.

    I know two doctors in Canada that were threatened and harassed for not being able to save a thug that arrived dead to the emergency.

    The stories my colleagues can tell you… these videos do no justice.


  8. I have so much respect for the brave souls that are still on the ground in Venezuela, yet could be living anywhere else in the world.


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