Chaos in “operational” hospitals

The crisis in Puerto Rico’s hospitals as a result of Hurricane María’s landfall and the direct impact on patient health is, more than two weeks after the catastrophe, a daily issue. The lack of information, misinformation and contradicting data regarding the real status of these institutions from the government has been constant. Last Tuesday, for example, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló touted as an achievement that 63 of the island’s 69 hospitals were “operational.” He never explained in detail how the government went from having 56 hospitals closed the prior week, as Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez-Mercado said at that time, to having reopened practically all of them. The great question is: What does “operational” mean? That same day, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI in Spanish) visited the Pavía and Susoni hospitals in Arecibo and the Buen Samaritano in Aguadilla and confirmed that none of them were ready to admit critical patients, despite being on the list of hospitals released by the government.

María’s dead in Puerto Rico are underreported

Leovigildo Cotté died in the midst of desperation over not getting the oxygen needed to keep him alive in the only shelter that exists in the town of Lajas, which has been without electricity since the passing of Hurricane María a week ago. Not even his connections with the government saved him. “The generator never arrived,” said sadly the current Mayor of Lajas, Marcos Turín Irizarry, who said he looked for oxygen for Cotté, father of the former mayor of that same town, “turning every stone,” but could not find it. Cotté is one of the unaccounted victims of the Category 5 hurricane that devastated all of Puerto Rico last week, with its sustained winds and gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. On Wednesday, the Government of Puerto Rico, still held that the official number of deaths as a result of the catastrophe was 16, but the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, for its initials in Spanish) has confirmed that there are dozens and could be hundreds in the final count.

The Silent Expansion of Fiscal Control Boards in the U.S.

The figure of boards that take control over the finances of cities or territories is becoming more generalized, although they affect local democracy, impose austerity measures without controls, and lack mechanisms to evaluate their efficiency or be scrutinized.