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He is not a doctor: Beware of the video in which a man claims with no evidence that respirators are taken off elderly COVID-19 patients in Spain

Publicado martes, 31 marzo 2020
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It's likely that during the last couple of days you will have seen a video of an alleged "Spanish doctor" crying while he claims that COVID-19 patients who are over 65 are taken off respirators so they can give them to the younger. However, the man in the viral video is not a doctor at all and at no point does he identify himself as one.

In the video, the man plays an audio that he had previously received and reacts to it by crying and criticizing the government for supposedly letting elderly patients die. It's the tweets that made the tape viral that claim he is a doctor, not him.

On the other hand, the Spanish Ministry of Health denied on March 20 that patients aged 65 or over were being taken off respirators. So did the regional Health Infrastructure Department in Madrid on the 19th of March. Previously, Madrid hospitals Fundación Jiménez Díaz and La Paz also denied that such thing was happening in their wards.

There is no evidence to claim that he is a "Spanish doctor"

After identifying the man who appears in the video, we have checked that there is no registered doctor in Spain under that name. This can be done as the Spanish Medical Collegiate Organization has a public database where registered doctors are listed.

We also found the man's Facebook page, where he pointed out that he had studied courses and worked in jobs that were not related to health in any way.

For that reason, there is no evidence that suggests that the man in the video is a "Spanish doctor", as it was said in several viral tweets that were shared in different languages.

The Ministry of Health denies that over-65s are being taken off respirators as of March the 20th

The Spanish Ministry of Health told Maldita.es that it was "absolutely not" true that elderly COVID-19 patients were being taken off respirators, as of March 20.

Likewise, the general director of Health Infrastructures in the region of Madrid, Alejo Miranda de Larra, said on Twitter that there is no "lack of respirators in Madrid".

https://twitter.com/AlejoMiranda/status/1240335503343390721?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1240335503343390721&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fmaldita.es%2Fmalditobulo%2F2020%2F03%2F23%2Fvideo-medico-espanol-llora-mayores-65-anos%2F

La Paz and Fundación Jiménez Díaz hospitals also dismiss what's said in the viral posts

A viral WhatsApp chain said that the scene described in the video was happening in hospitals such as La Paz or Fundación Jiménez Díaz, both in Madrid. However, a spokesperson from La Paz told Maldita.es that "it's not true" and that there are enough respirators for all their patients.

viral whatsapp chain
"My mother said that there are not enough respirators for everybody at La Paz, so they are going to take them off elderly people. I'm aware it's the same situation as in the Fundación Jiménez Díaz and in Sanchinarro. I've got two friends there and they said it's going to affect over-70s".

The Fundación Jiménez Díaz also said "there is no shortage and we are adapting our resources to take care of all patients".

A protocol on how to give out respirators is being finished at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, according to El Confidencial

El Confidencial reported that some hospitals such as the Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona are working on a protocol that will restrict the use of respirators "to the most elderly patients in order to prevent the collapsing of intensive care units". Maldita.es reached out to the press department of the Vall d'Hebron, but they didn't comment prior to the publication of this report.

Additionally, the Spanish Society of Intensive and Critical Medicine and Coronary Units (SEMICYUC) released a document titled "Ethical recommendations for decision-making amid the exceptional crisis in intensive care units caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" in which they allege that the current situation "can carry an imbalance between the need of mechanical ventilation and the available resources".

According to SEMICYUC, that's the reason why "it's essential to establish a triage" when patients are taken into hospitals that "will privilege those with the highest life expectancy". These recommendations are similar to the ones given out by the Italian Intensive Therapy Society, who suggested patients with a "higher life expectancy" should be a priority.


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