Rocío Ailén SamaniegoAge 22
11 Aug 2020
Garupá, Misiones (Argentina)
Rocío died in hospital 9 days after an asthma attack after suffering what can only be described as horrific clinical neglect, no doubt amplified by transphobia.
There is no doubt that the way Rocío was treated made her death far more likely than it might otherwise have been.
On August 2 at dawn, Olga, Rocío's mother, found her daughter in the bathroom and became worried. Olga is a nurse, she noticed that her daughter was cyanotic. "We called 107 (Emergency Service) because Rocío was suffering an asthma attack," said Matías. "They told us they were changing shifts, so we had to wait until they got organized." While they waited, her mother tried to reassure her. When the ambulance arrived they refused to transfer her to the hospital: "because the COVID 19 protocol is active and they said they did not have the clothing [presumably PPE] to transport her," Caballero explained.
The family decided to take her by their own means to the biggest hospital in the province, the Madariaga. “There they made us wait in the hall, while she was breaking down more and more, at one point she could hardly breathe. My wife insisted on starting a dialogue with a doctor, who, seeing the state in which Rocío was found, began to shout for quick attention. She had to be intubated because she was already on 64 oxygen saturation (the ambulance nurse took 64 and when she arrived at the hospital she had 60) ”.
According to the family, at the Madariaga the first swab was done with a negative result. Then they were told that they had to transfer her to the Fatima hospital due to lack of beds. "But with the excuse that there they had to have the best therapists, who were prepared to receive any patient with respiratory problems," said the stepfather.
The family asked to be transferred to the René Favaloro hospital, located in Villa Cabello, blocks from their home. After a first refusal, they accepted the transfer for Rocío's health ”which took place that same August 2 at around 8:00 p.m. There she had another swab that was also negative.
"While hospitalized in Fatima she caught pneumonia" denounces the family. And they say that "from the first moment we had friction with Dr. Carlos Tozzeto, who told us at all times that Rocío was a man, that she had a man's anatomy, and that he was going to refer to her as a male." Caballero reported that "Rocío had her woman's document and had her birth certificate as a woman because at age 18 she changed her gender." "We explained all this to the doctor, and he told us that for him she was still a man," said the missionary.
Rocío's mother said that in the last days of hospitalization she saw her daughter “very abandoned. They did not sanitize her, they did not move her, they did not change the fixation of the tube, the discharge was left with blood on her side, her face was all dirty full of secretions, it was clear that her eyes were not cleaned ”.
After spending several days in the hospital, "the doctor informed the mother that she no longer had pneumonia and that little by little they were going to remove the sedation so that she would wake up," said Caballero.
The next day, the family learned of Rocío's death through the condolences of an acquaintance. Upon receiving the news in this way, the stepfather went to the hospital at 6 in the morning. “When I ask him for the death certificate, Dr. Tozzeto refuses to give me the paper. He tells me that by hospital protocol he could only give me a photocopy, ”Caballero said indignantly. He explained that no one gave him explanations, and they even put two security agents at the entrance to prevent him from entering.
With the photocopy of the death certificate, the stepfather went to the Registry of Persons, where they asked him for the original certificate. The man says that he had to go four times by bus from the Registry in Posadas to the hospital in Garupá.
The family says Registry staff tried to contact the hospital and wrote a note to obtain the original documentation. It was delivered and ignored. Olga, Rocío's mother, also appeared at the hospital, since the family at one point suspected that they were not giving the certificate to Caballero because he was not the biological father of the young woman.
The stepfather continued insisting regarding the constancy, and after the refusals of the health professionals, he asked to see the director. He got him to be attended by Dr. Jaime Brestzki, the hospital manager. Olga explained to the doctor that, as a nurse, she knows that they cannot deny their relatives a death certificate. Given this, the doctor acknowledged that they made a mistake and handed over the document.
By protocol, the family could not enter the morgue or recognize or remove the body. Caballero had to obtain a truck at the request of the hospital and resorted to calling a delegate from the Municipality of Itaembé Miní to get a drawer.
“They gave me white gloves and with my personal mask (my own) I entered the place. They didn't want to help me load the body into the drawer. I had to carry it, put it in the drawer, they did not let me dress her, they did not clean her, I had to take her out with a hospital gown "she said and reported that when she requested help due to the weight of the body" the nurse said "since so much You insist, you do it '”, using the excuse of the“ protocol for COVID ”.
The hospital formally reported the death of the young woman at 6:00 p.m. on August 11. The record details that she died at 00.35. In other words, it was almost 18 hours before they notified the relatives.