Twenty-eight years ago, when Patricia was pregnant, she was treated at González Coro Hospital, the former Holy Cross Clinic, on 21st Street between 4th and 5th in Vedado. In those days it was the desire of every mother-to-be to be treated there since it was the place with the most prominent specialists. Among the last such facilities to have been built in the 1950s, it also had not yet deteriorated as much as its counterparts.

At the time my friend noticed that in the Obstetrics and Gynecology waiting room there was a leak coming from the dropped ceiling under which a towel and bucket had been placed to catch the splashing water. Back then, this could be “overlooked” since it was logical to assume it was only a temporary situation. At least that is what she thought.

Twenty-eight years have passed and my friend recently returned to the same waiting room, this time with her daughter, who is now expecting. Imagine her horror when she saw that the same old leak, which had been her constant companion during the nine months of her pregnancy, was not only still there but had grown to be much bigger. It is now almost a waterfall, like the one at Soroa*, and a large part of the dropped ceiling has been destroyed. The bucket currently used to catch the water is much bigger and the towel is no longer large enough to contain the splashes forming a giant puddle around which the medical personnel and patients must navigate, subject to the obvious risk of slipping and falling.

It seems to me that, with all the money invested over the last twenty-eight years in buckets and towels, they could have — if they so desired — fixed the  problem in the dropped ceiling, as they should have, and thus avoided the risk of an accident, which in the case of a pregnant woman could be fatal. Who are the officials responsible for correcting this situation? It is perhaps the hospital director? Might it be members of the National Assembly. What is quite clear to me is that it is certainly not the doctors or patients who are responsible for fixing this problem. I am also convinced that, if no one complains, this unfortunate situation will continue until one day the waiting room is closed, then the clinic, then the whole floor and finally the hospital, as we have seen happen with other such facilities.

 *Translator’s note: A site in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province.

1 October 2013

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