Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Venezuelan medical care is that bad?

A few weeks ago, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez underwent surgery to deal with a pelvic abscess (sounds painful, quite frankly) - in Cuba. I have to admit that my first thought was, um, why is the leader of a nation having surgery in another country rather than in his own nation? I would assume that pelvic abscesses are not something so unfamiliar that they can't be handled as part of a routine procedure and would therefore be something that could be handled by doctors in your own nation. After all, can one imagine the president of the US going to Turkey (or Switzerland, for that matter) for a similar procedure?

Heck no! (S)he would undergo surgery in his own country from the best his nation has to offer. So, I guess it begs the question of exactly why Chavez had surgery in Cuba (for which, to those otherwise unaware, he has been an economic patron while Fidel Castro has been his political mentor). Is it because Venezuela doesn't have competent doctors? Perhaps Chavez doesn't want his own populace to be aware of his weakness (from whence he might be dumped from office)? Maybe it's more convenient to perform surgeries in Cuba than it is in Venezuela?

Cuba does seem to have an excess of doctors that it exports throughout the world so I guess they must have a decent reputation... And it's not the first time leaders have had medical concerns dealt with external to their own countries (the Shah of Iran and members of the Saudi Arabian elite are notable personages who sought medical care in the US for serious or rare medical conditions that could not be addressed in their respective nations). But it certainly does not speak well of either the Venezuelan medical system or the trust that the leadership has in it. Too bad the poor Venezuelans who make up much of his political base can't have similar options when it comes to their own medical care...

1 comment:

  1. A lot of Canadian officials fly south to the U.S. for medical treatment. It says a lot about the quality of medical care there as well.

    Rumor has it that Chavez went to Cuba to have a sex change operation as he prepares to become queen of Venezuela.