Dying on the waiting list

Time stopped on January 5. There are still the garlands of lights, the messages of Merry Christmas, the hats of Santa Claus, the tree crowned by the golden star … The García Fuertes have lived together for a month and a half with the illusion parked, abandoned, broken. They do not yet know who will take the step of saving the first strip of tinsel, of crossing the border of a daily ritual that the mother, Vicenta, performs every year. He never got to share the invisible friend planned for that day before the Three Kings. “You are the best mother you can have. I love you very much Mumu ”. There is still in the living room, next to a gift bag, the message written in calligraphic handwriting worthy of a Rubio booklet by Paula, 17, for her mother, her Mumu.

The Christmas parties passed normally despite the anxiety. Vicenta was restless because since November she had waited to be called to be operated on for the benign brain tumor that had been detected a month earlier at the level of her forehead. At 56 years old, this woman who had never worked outside the home, had happily opened a new work horizon, employed a few hours as a cleaner in a high school. But the diagnosis was a blow.

Derived from Guadalajara to Madrid, Vicenta and her husband, Isidro, were received at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital. The reception was “impeccable” by Luis Ley, head of Neurosurgery, who said that the woman was going to be operated on in two or three weeks, according to the husband. “Every time the phone rang, she jumped,” recalls Isidro García González, 70. The days passed, but the appointment did not arrive. In desperation, both approached the hospital despite the pandemic restrictions acting as a barrier. They also tried several times to request explanations over the phone. “What I reproach them for is that they did not call us to say that he was late,” laments the husband.

Vicenta Fuertes Vicente collapsed in the bathroom on the ground floor of his townhouse in Alovera (Guadajalaja). It was shortly after noon on Tuesday, January 5. He had sent Paula to do the shopping and she was alone. The daughter stumbled upon the scene upon returning home. A cousin of the girl was the first to arrive and tried by word of mouth to revive her aunt in time of emergencies. The toilets soon confirmed that there was nothing to do. Meanwhile, Isidro, who runs an office as a private detective, made the return trip from his office in Madrid. The fastest I have ever done. Also Raúl, the 29-year-old son, a judicial expert.

“There is an explanation for the sudden death of Vicenta and it is the death by Covid,” says the forensic Sonia María San Martín in the report of the Institute of Legal Medicine of Guadalajara after performing an antigen test on the body. The virus “has caused sudden deaths of patients who, apparently, were well,” he adds. Vicenta was taking Fortecortín, a corticosteroid that “reduces defenses against any infection.” However, the document details that an autopsy was not performed despite the fact that the definitive cause of death was not conclusive: “Having clarified the most probable cause of death, the opening of the corpse is unnecessary to expand the study.” “Today everything is covid. They take everything to the covid ”, splutters the husband sitting at the dining room table while remembering that from the first moment he asked that his wife’s body be analyzed to know what she died of.

Today, the family regrets not having more information about the reasons for the death. Isidro wonders how no one at home, not even the nephew who did the word of mouth, has been infected. Manuela Fuertes, Vicenta’s sister, filed a complaint on the same day, January 5, and requested an autopsy, something that was denied the following day by the investigating court number 2 in Guadalajara.

Desperate, Isidro published a bitter letter of complaint and denunciation on his Facebook profile addressed to the neurosurgeon Luis Ley. “He received my wife and myself in his office, taking care of us correctly. It made a great impression on us: I remember the last words of my wife ‘Doctor, I trust you and I am in your hands’. You promised us that you would be operated on by yourself in two or three weeks ”. “I have suffered her disappointment with her and for that reason I am writing to you without the intention of bothering you in your undoubtedly well-deserved winter snow holidays, and only to tell you that, if you were thinking of calling her for surgery on her return, it is no longer necessary , is deceased, “he added in the text published on social networks on January 7, the same day of the funeral.

Almost at the same time, Raúl posted a video on Instagram and Twitter in similar terms. In a few hours the images with the dramatic testimony of the young man, who ends up crying for the loss of his mother, flew. Among many others, that desperate cry reached the son of Dr. Luis Ley. The uproar on social networks ended up opening the door for the neurosurgeon, in exchange for removing the video, to receive Isidro and Raúl in the hospital, although they They themselves point out that the explanations received did not clarify their doubts and suspicions. “I complain about the lack of humanity. If my wife stays dead in the operating room, I don’t say a peep ”.

The head of Neurosurgery of Ramón y Cajal appeared three years ago in a magazine list Forbes among the best 50 doctors in Spain. Ley is also a specialist consultant at the Quirón University Hospital in Madrid and a professor at the European University of Madrid and at the University of Alcalá de Henares, as stated on its website. EL PAÍS has tried to obtain your opinion for this report on what happened to Vicenta Fuertes, but the communication office of the hospital center has said that “it cannot”. On January 29 they sent a letter to the family acknowledging receipt of a January 25 claim that Isidro assures that he had not sent.

The Ramón y Cajal University Hospital recognizes that the patient was on the waiting list for an intervention that they did not consider to be urgent. The communication office has responded in writing to several questions from this newspaper in which it states that “adequate health care was provided” according to the diagnosis of meningioma, a benign localized tumor that progresses slowly. “The Neurosurgery Service indicated the operation of the patient on a non-urgent basis and on November 25 pre-anesthesia tests were performed.” The hospital center “deeply regrets the fatal outcome” although “the circumstances of the death of the patient at her home or the medical cause that caused it are not known.”

Raúl and Paula are under psychological treatment. She battles against the Baccalaureate because her dream is to be an engineer. His father has not yet assumed the void. “They have been 36 years of coexistence and 30 of married,” he says. Isidro wanted to celebrate his love for his absent wife on February 14, Valentine’s Day. He bought some roses for Vicenta. The bouquet fades little by little in the kitchen next to a note taped to the tiles that reads: “Congratulations, my bold. I always loved you (I never told you), I love you and I will always love you ”.

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