In December 2019, EL PERIÓDICO interviewed four people who were then affected by the long waiting lists for public health in Catalonia. Now, 10 months later and a global pandemic that has fired in a 50% the time to access diagnostic tests, consultations with the specialist and operations, this newspaper interviews them again to find out their current situation.
Laura Tarrés: “I am still without the prosthesis and now I also have cancer”
In December of last year, Laura Tarres, a neighbor from Mataró now 69 years old, complained in this newspaper that he had been on a guaranteed waiting list since May 2019 (the one in which, in theory, the patient should not wait more than six months) to receive a knee prosthesis. Today, 10 months after the interview, Laura not only has not been operated on, but last August they detected a cancer of the uterus in advanced stage. “Now the most important thing is to stop the tumor. But, obviously, I still have mobility problems because they have not operated on my knee,” he explains. Last May, the last month for which the Servei Català de la Salut (CatSalut) offers data, the average waiting time for a knee replacement surgery was 185 days.
Laura had last year (and continues to have them now) also leg pains. “I spend a large part of the day sitting down,” she recounted a year ago. After months and months of waiting, they finally gave him a date: on July 14 they would put the prosthesis. “I had been waiting for the operation for two years”, explains Laura, who lives alone with the only company of her dog. But, before the intervention, they found fluid in the pleura (a membrane of the lung) and everything stopped. “I spent three weeks in the emergency room of the Mataró Hospital. And, in early August, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer quite advanced, “he adds. She is aware that, if she had been operated on “when she played”, now she would not have, apart from cancer, mobility problems.
“The doctors wondered whether to put chemotherapy or have a laparoscopy, but they opted for chemo because my ability to withstand total anesthesia is limited, “says Laura. They have already given her three chemotherapy sessions, the last one on September 25. Now she feels better. happy with him “splendid staff” of the Mataró Hospital who is treating her for her cancer. “When I entered the hospital, I was completely alone, no one could come to see me. I have had the worst drink of my life. But I found myself with Psychological Support and with the care of professionals, “she says gratefully. She just hopes that everything happens as soon as possible.
Jorge Valls: “Covid-19 delayed my operation even more”
71 years and three herniated discs. Jorge Valls, A man from Barcelona, a resident of the Trinitat Vella neighborhood (in Sant Andreu), he had to wait seven months for the traumatologist to see him last year. He told it in EL PERIÓDICO in December. That visit finally happened at the beginning of this 2020. But he is still bad and the operation that he has needed for three years does not arrive. “I have back problems. They were going to operate on me at the beginning of the year, it had to be imminent, but the coronavirus pandemic arrived and they finished fixing everything,” he complains by phone. “I’m lying in bed because I can’t even walk”, ensures. Last May, the average waiting time for surgery for a hernia in Catalonia was 274 days.
In July of this year two tests were scheduled for November 20: a posterior lateral scoliogram and X-rays of the spine. “They are tests essential for the operation, for which there is no date yet “, regrets Jorge. It is difficult for him to walk. There are days when it is hard to sleep because of the pain.
According to him, he lives or, rather, “Malvive” as it can “Much nolotil [un analgésico]. And I’m seeing how life goes by, “he explains. His family recently went on a trip to the Canary Islands and he preferred to stay. Next June 1, that is, in eight months he will have a visit with the traumatologist, an appointment in which They will predictably tell him when he will be operated on, something that will happen, he believes, in 2021. This appointment was scheduled for him on August 21.
Jorge explains how he experienced the confinement: “The truth is that it did not affect me too much because I am already used to being at home. Now I do not even go to the family doctor because you cannot go to the CAP. I buy the bread 20 meters from my house And I go to the pharmacy, which is 25, “he says. He claims to address his health problems with” resignation. “In addition to having three herniated discs, Jorge continues to control other old health problems, such as the cancer that he overcame 10 years ago and for which they do control tests every year. In this he is happy: “I have colonoscopies, CTs, analytics & mldr; And everything always turns out perfect. “
Juana Fernández: “I’m not even on the list for the dermatologist”
About 40 years ago Juana Fernandez, The 71-year-old has a leg disease that doctors have yet to name. “I have one internal ulcer and calcified ankle bone “, she says sitting in the living room of her house in Can Peguera (Nou Barris). It is difficult for him to walk and when he goes out, he does so in a wheelchair. In December of last year, he explained to this newspaper that until August 7, 2020, he would not be able to visit the pain clinic at Hospital Vall d’Hebron.
During all this time, thanks to the platform White Tide, who filed a claim, managed to get the appointment advanced several months. Now he finds something better. “I don’t have the pain as often or as badly. So I’m a little more animated than last year,” explains Juana.
However, it is still affected by the long waiting lists for public health. “You have to see me dermatologist because look at how my skin is, all red, “he says while showing his right leg. But for this specialist they haven’t even given him an appointment.” They haven’t even put me on the waiting list, “he adds.” And I don’t want to go to Vall d’Hebron to make an appointment because I am a risk person and it gives me fear of the coronavirus “, precise. In May this year, the average waiting time to visit the dermatologist was 141 days, compared to 84 in December last year.
For Juana, who suffers from an unknown ailment, the solution to her ills is medication. “They changed it and gave me a stronger one. In some pills they have doubled the dose,” he says. It also reduces your exits from home to the maximum. “I’m going from my house to my daughter’s house and little else.” And always in a wheelchair because “any pebble” can make you lose your balance and fall. Something that is not easy, since he lives in a neighborhood (one of the poorest in Barcelona) full of hills. Public health waiting lists also reflect a class bias: it is the people who cannot afford a private mutual who suffer the most.
Josep Bruch: “To politicians: dedicate more resources to healthcare”
Josep Bruch, 73 years old, he is the only one of those interviewed who is happy. Last year he expressed his anger in EL PERIÓDICO. “I have a problem in the left leg, My joint hurts and I have to wait five months to have a preferential MRI at the Vic Hospital. Also, I don’t have a visit to the traumatologist until March, “he said in December.
A year later, it is “all done and resolved.” Even so, it is in waiting list to have a prosthesis put on his left hip. “They haven’t given me a date yet, but I reckon in 30 days they will operate on me “, says convinced. He does not doubt that this will be the case because a few days ago he had the analytics prior to the surgical intervention. You are lucky: in May the average time for an operation of this type was 163 days. He has only had to wait four months (120 days), although doctors started talking to him about the operation a year ago. “As at the moment I do not have a serious mobility problem, I am not in a hurry, although the sooner they do it the better”, he adds.
From his home in Vic (Osona), he claims not to have “No complaints at this time.” And he speaks well of the medical care that he is being given in his municipality. “Here the attendance is very good. We are collapsed, as everywhere, of course”, says Josep. He, who has always liked to play sports (“little or a lot, I have always done”), is satisfied. “I’m in good health. Of course, I have 30 years left “, jokes. That is why he is looking forward to surgery, because he likes to move and walk a little every day with his wife and now, with his hip problem, a joint hurts when he walks. Although it only “bothers” him and he has no “walking impediments”.
Josep believes that Catalonia has “good public health”, which is now “collapsed” because of the pandemic. “Regarding the management of politicians, I think they should devote more resources to health than, ultimately, benefits us all “, concludes.