Monday, 24 January 2011

EDITORIAL: A tragedy

José María is dead. At 28 that is a tragedy whatever else it might be, and our deepest sympathies lie with the family and friends he left behind. We can understand their anger and frustration. We can understand their profound sense of loss. (See full story on CampoPulse)

It happens that we knew the boy; not very well and we wouldn't want to assume a friendship that never was. But we knew him over the years. First as a lad we always saw as quiet and hard working, one of those people that so often go unnoticed. The last time we saw him was the previous weekend when he was taking his broom and dustpan out of his car by the main square; a Sunday, one of the days he worked in his new, if temporary employment.

As usual in these cases, there are varying versions of what actually occurred. Several of them imply that the doctor who is now accused of neglect by the family, is not only our own but also a friend to whom we can but offer our support as well. He will remain unnamed here as long as he is not formally accused of anything in court. We owe him that at least.

The truth may never be known, but the fact is that we cannot conceive of any physician sending a patient home under the circumstances described in several versions of the events, one of which was published this morning in Europa Sur. Certainly not this physician.

That the demonstration rang out with cries of "assassins!" takes matters a few steps beyond reason and common sense. We know, too, how much this doctor would have been hurt by that word, for he is someone who cares deeply for his patients and his vocation.

There is a saying in Spanish El que tiene boca, se equivoca, which translates into 'He who has a mouth, will make a mistake'. Certainly, anyone can make  mistake. Doctors, for all their studies and care, are human and as such are as prone to error as anyone.

It is too easy to seek blame for a tragedy such as this. Indeed, we are forever seeking to blame someone else without bothering to look inwards for our own part in any incident, even the most trivial.

There are unanswered questions that are likely to remain so. Did the boy do as he was told? Should he have sought help earlier? And so on...

But no, however busy they may have been, or troubled by circumstance, nobody at the medical centre will have wished anyone dead. Assassins they are not.

Let us hope that common sense prevails and any further accusations wait until matters are made clearer by those whose job it is to do so.


Anonymous said...

I cannot possibly comment on the tragedy that has occurred regarding the death of this poor man but I would like to say that I went to the Centro de Salud a few months ago with nothing more than a throbbing lower leg and was seen by my usual doctor who immediately prescribed injections, cream and a follow up appointment. Later that day I was still concerned, went back and was referred straight away to La Linea where further tests were carried out and all was well. The care was exemplary even when no outward signs of the suspected embolism were evident and I cannot fault the health centre in any way. Obviously all cases are individual and I only want to reassure others and to prevent unnecessary worries regarding our health in the hands of our local care givers.

PROSPERO said...

Received by mail and translated: I have known Dr. Javier Rodríguez Conejo since he arrived in Jimena and has been my doctor and that of many of my friends. I have to say that he has always been absolutely correct and pofesional, one of the few physicians I know with a true vocation. I cannot imagine that he committed negligence as he has always acted with certainty. I am terribly sorry for the family an friends of José María Caracuel who died and I understand that nothing can aleviate their pain, but I believe that to condemn a doctor so totally dedicated to his work for a human error (if that is the case) is not fair, especially knowing what that could mean. I only want to offer my sincere ondolences to Josema's family and my support towards Javier Rodríguez Conejo, who in my opinion does nort deserve this.
Margarita Blanco Ayala and Guy Martin

(Prospero Note: the doctor's name, which we had refused to give out in our editorial, is by now common knowledge.)