Monday, July 13, 2009

It’s not easy

Image: Luis Trápaga

The other day at one of our blogger meetings we chose to talk about the stories of the Colón cemetery, of the vicissitudes that happen in Cuba when someone close dies. It seems to be a shocking enough topic, and in a certain sense it is, fortunately we’ve seen the movie, “The death of a bureaucrat,” which made it clear years ago that dying in Cuba “is not easy.”

A few days later a neighbor caught me by surprise with a horrifying story. It seemed that a 40-year-old woman in the neighborhood had died from epilepsy. The attending doctor found no external signs of violence, but in the interest of prudence called Legal Medicine to come and examine the body. Legal Medicine that it wasn’t necessary, despite the youth of the victim, if there were no signs of a crime they should proceed directly to preparing the death certificate without them.

For security reasons, the family asked that an autopsy be performed on the deceased and began to prepare the paperwork. As it was late at night, no hospital had much interest in receiving them, they heard several variants of refusal:

- There is no water.
- There is no technician.
- The person in charge can’t be located.

Finally they found a hospital that agreed to receive the deceased and the family quietly awaited the results, which take about two months. But three months passed and there was no response: it seems that the organs were lost and/or were thrown out at some point between the hospital and the processing site.

Deciding to make a complaint, they went to the province and tried to move heaven and earth, but they realize that they may never know what she died of.

It's not easy.

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