Seventeen days after my father in law was tested for Covid-19, and a week after his death, I received his negative results by text. I then told my wife: “Hey darling these are good news after all”. She immediately started to sob. I replied: “What happen dear, I understand, but this is a confirmation that is was not the virus”. “Yes, it is true”, she said. “However, this delay to inform us is because of the bad health system we have in Venezuela, and at the Hospital he for sure received the wrong treatment due to the Covid-19 supposition. Maybe, he could have survived”.
Francisco Osuna Davila (1933-2020) was a humble man from Lagunillas, a small and very dry town in Merida State, located in the Venezuelan Andes. He was a military man from the Maracay’s parachute division, jumping from one of the veteran Dakotas C47 of the mid-50s. During the urban guerrillas in Caracas (1962-1969) he fought the communist ambushes in the streets of the capital. Then, after the political reconciliation of the 70s, he worked as a policeman in peaceful and more prosperous times. He got married and had three sons and a daughter. He was always in a good mood, very collaborative, he loved to play domino, visit relatives and friends, do long walks, enjoy good meals, and in general, he was a very nice person.
The quarantine for him was a nemesis, he did not understand the illness in full. Nevertheless, he obeyed the stay home mandate. Suddenly, in early August, he started to lost appetite, and the purpose of living, his final comments reflected a very pessimistic view of his future. He spent ten days with basal pneumonia at home after being diagnosed by two medics, however, around day 14 he said: “I need to go to the hospital”. We took him on the 15 of August to do the Covid-19 test, and all the family did it as well, and we all started a strict quarantine.
We visited him every day at the hospital on the other side of Caracas, however it was impossible to see him because of the Covid-19 supposition. We asked several times for the test results and obtained no answer, just a very short daily comment by the doctors. Private medicine has been almost prohibitive in Venezuela since 2018. Even health insurance is insufficient (1000USD a year maximum for private institutions), just very rich people and high-rank members of the government had better access (around 800USD per day). This panorama is even worst in other cities and towns of this country. Can you imagine what happens with less fortunate people?
On August 25 (6 am) we received a text: “Sorry to inform you that Mr. Osuna died around 1 am, please come early in the morning to pick him up”. We had to recognize that most of the personal were gentle, and they received our special daily meals we brought to him. Although, we believe that the treatment was wrong and precipitated his death. Fortunately, if we can say that, the retirement of the body from the hospital was very expedited. Fortunately, our private funerary insurance could work efficiently. We could transport and cremate the body plus did the paperwork very easily at the hospital and the private cemetery. However, most Covid-19 victims go to public hospitals where none of these fast outcomes happen.
We have some relief thinking that my father in law, Francisco Osuna Davila, lived a plentiful life after the 87 years of age he achieved. But sometimes we consider the worst part that he died alone and far from his family, his wife, sons, granddaughters, and many more people that he loved. This could not happen if an early test result was received and the proper treatment for a no contagious illness was diagnosed.
Most relatives of Venezuelan patients with Covid-19 that unfortunately die, will not have easy and prompt access to their deceased loved ones. Besides, private clinics are forbidden to do the Covid-19 test. How many more calamities must my countrymen suffer? And for how long?