Letter: Venezuela’s Health Care

Dear Editors,

I saw this headline on the front of the “dead tree edition” of the paper this morning. Besides the coverage on your blog, this caught my eye because of a personal connection: A good friend of mine recently lost her mother in Venezuela. She was sent to the nearest hospital because of a problem with her heart and needed an operation to put in a stent. The hospital that she was checked into didn’t have all of the equipment that they needed to perform the operation on her. The nearest hospital with the equipment did not have all the materials in stock (I believe the stent itself). They eventually got everything they needed to perform the operation itself, but in the evening shortly after the operation, she passed away. While any surgery on the heart is non-trivial, I believe that it is a relatively routine operation here in the U.S. when we have all of the supplies and equipment. Thanks for all you do. – J.S.