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Doctors For World Cup Tourists, But Waiting Rooms For Ordinary Brazilian Citizens

By Maria Luiza Lago
Junior Reporter
CURITIBA, Paraná, Brazil – The thousands of tourists who are
visiting my city for World Cup matches don’t need to worry if they get sick or
injured – but the citizens in need of medical help have reason to be concerned.
The World Cup moved to Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil, on
Monday when Iran and Nigeria faced off. The match at the Arena da Baixada
stadium ended in a draw, and the next game there is Friday, when Honduras and
Two more World Cup matches will follow here next week, which means that
Curitiba will host four of the 64 games of the 2014 World Cup.
The stadium holds about 44,000 people and according to Brazilian media
reports, it is ready for medical emergencies. Clinics with doctors and ambulances
are on hand.
Likewise, at least six medical professionals will be in Pedreira Paulo
Leminksi, an open space that will host the thousands of people who can’t get
access to the stadium but come to watch the games on a big screen at Fan Fest.
In addition, the reports said FIFA will have private ambulances at the
stadium to take those who need care to a special hospital prepared for the
World Cup and the tourists it attracts.
That’s nice for the tourists, but meanwhile, average citizens are
suffering – and some are dying – from lack of emergency medical care.
Curitiba residents are waiting several hours or even days to have their
problems resolved. One local police officer waited more than a week for a steel
part to fix his broken arm at the Hospital do Trabalhador, one of the largest
emergency care centers in the city. It especially treats traffic or work
accidents and bullet injuries.
The lack of doctors is a problem in Brazil and one the big contrasts
between what was prepared for the World Cup and the reality the Brazilians live
with daily.
There’s also lack of care in the Intensive Therapy Units here and the
Brazilian media is full of stories about the human cost. One told of a
47-day-old baby waiting to be treated. The boy had suffered a respiratory
arrest and died waiting for a spot in the intensive care unit. His father was
quoted in the local media saying they had tried three other public hospitals and
couldn’t find a vacancy anywhere.
Another tragic case involved a 40-year-old musician, Emerson
Antoniacomi, who felt sick about 8 p.m. on a Thursday and waited until the next
day for a spot in the Intensive Therapy Unit.
When he finally made it, it was too late – he was brain dead.
Trying to ease the problems, the Brazilian government created the “Mais
Médicos,” or “More Doctors” program, hiring 15,000 foreign and Brazilian professionals
to meet the need for doctors in the inner cities and the peripheries of the big
This program was really criticized by the Brazilian Medical Association
and the Federal Medical Board. They said these doctors are not practicing
legally because they have not submitted to the Nation Revalidation of Diplomas
Exam that is supposed to make sure Brazil’s doctors are qualified.
Least than two weeks before the World Cup, there was a strike in public
and philanthropic hospitals here by nurses, people working on the World Cup and cleaning workers.
They asked for a 15 percent raise in meal vouchers, more sanitary
working conditions and free health care, according to Sindesc, the health
workers union.
Because of the June 4 strike, the emergency units were overloaded, city
officials at the Prefecture of Curitiba decided.  In the end, a proposed compromise ended the strike
and hopefully will stabilize the situation.
It’s good that Brazil made an effort to receive tourists and treat them
well, but her citizens are still waiting to be properly attended. 

1 Comment

  • Thank you for pinpointing the sore points of Brazilian society.
    The economic boon must profit the Brazilian people. I'm afraid it will profit the sponsors, in which case it could be assimilated to a spoliation of the people,a treason, a breach of their rights. May Brazil be "serious" about games!