28 mayo, 2022

Death at IMSS Clinic 31: Rush for an autopsy, defending director and vice director first, then they “resigned”


The Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), is a federal instance that gives medical services as well as social security to Mexican workers who are affiliated, it has always been famous for a notoriously slow service and medical negligence accusations against it are very frequent, this time it was a C-Section which wound up with the death of the woman who died after giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

In a concise and brief press release, IMSS announced that the Director and Deputy Director of Clinic 31 of the IMSS in Mexicali, resigned on February 7, as a result of the case of Keren, a young woman who gave birth and died after leaving the operating room and being in the ICU of Clinic 31 on Friday, January 28, however, there is no further information about what actually happened that day.

IMSS Representative in Baja California, Desiré Sagarnaga, during the press conference where she defended Clinic 31 Director and Deputy Director, then a few days later “accepted their resignations”. The case is still unclear and no one knows what really happened, and due to the IMSS bad reputation, it´s anybody’s guess.

The news were all over Mexicali, Baja and even all around Mexico, Keren, a young woman who was about to give birth had to go through a C-Section, had a crisis and was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and she died after a few hours, IMSS doctors immediately performed an autopsy on the body in the morning of Saturday, January 29, then, due to a judicial complaint filed by her sister her body was sent to the State Attorney´s Coroner Service, where they said that her body had no internal organs.

This strange thing provoked a tidal wave of commentaries and different versions among the general public, speculating what could have happened, many people thought the worst things, since IMSS has never been famous for a good and warm service to its patients, and the rush for an autopsy there is very strange because they program things with weeks and/or months in advance and many people have gotten worse and/or die waiting for surgery which is sometimes programmed for six months after they determine the necessity of one.

Among the noise and contradicting information, the IMSS representative in Baja California, Desiré Sagarnaga Durante, made a press conference where she explained that it is normal that when a patient dies in their hospitals, a clinical autopsy is performed, assuring that the husband of the deceased, authorized it to be carried out, however, the problem was taken to the State Attorney’s Office, her sister sued, and the body was turned over to the coroner.

The official version goes something like this: “Keren died in an IMSS clinic in Mexicali after giving birth by cesarean section, her body was turned over to the Forensic Medical Service, and it had no internal organs because the autopsy had already been done it is a case that has confused public opinion, (or was in progress) and the organs were in the IMSS Coroner.

This became big news, perhaps due to the lack of concrete information from the Institute or by the sensationalist desire of some media to sell more papers or get more clicks and likes, many reporters and editors have speculated on the case after it was reported that the body had no organs, overlooking the true heart of the matter: Was there medical negligence or not?, they have started to guess about several versions, with no solid fundamentals, making gossip out of the news of Keren’s death.

Ms. Sagarnaga, after defending the doctors in charge of Clinic 31 of the IMSS during the delivery and death of young Keren, during February 3 press conference, announced, as of Monday February 7, the dismissal, resignation, suspension or whatever it may be, of the Director and Deputy Director of Clinic 31, just like that, once again information is confusing or misleading, Sagarnaga had said at a press conference on Thursday, that the doctors involved in this sad case were being investigated, but then again, it was a swift investigation for IMSS where everything happens very slowly..

This case has raised voices who speak out for and against the IMSS. Everyone knows that, at the IMSS, if surgery is needed, no matter how urgent it is, the Institute schedules it with several months of waiting, a period of time in which the patient could get worse or even die, in addition to the low quality of most of its services.

The death of a woman giving birth is not really a strange event, however, any case of this type must be thoroughly investigated, the problem with Keren’s case was that many media outlets came out with a “sensationalist” note, overlooking whatever really happened in the operating room at the time of Keren´s giving birth, speculating on alarming versions.

The central issue in this sad case is to determine if there was negligence or not when treating Keren in the operating room, giving birth, fortunately her baby is fine, but what happened to her? Could here death have been prevented? Is there responsibility of the doctors who were in charge of her baby’s delivery?

The most appropriate question here would be: Why did they defend the Director and Deputy Director of Clinic 31 and three days later «accepted their resignations»? It is sad to see that there is no efficiency in the IMSS, not even to solve cases like this, where a human life ended and there are many “peculiar” facts around Keren’s death, but Mexican Government (IMSS is a Federal Gov. institution) is always like this: Surreal.

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