Recently we had some conversation on this site about the veracity of medical (or any other) data coming out of communist nations. My point as ever, is that centralized government control is in the great majority of instances bad for patients, bad for physicians, and bad for the practice of medicine.
Which made this story seem sorta relevant: “Over 600 Cuban doctors, escaped from the communist nation’s medical slavery system, joined a global complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) this week against Havana, detailing the human rights abuses they endured and the damage the program forced them to inflict on their host countries.” The upshot is that Cuba exports their doctors to other countries in the developing world, in order to spread the commie faith, and rake in some fat pesos.
Claims made include:
– Cuban officials forced doctors to destroy medicine rather than give it to patients to falsify the true number of people the system was treating. This was in Venezuela, where the pharmacies are grossly undersupplied with meds as are their Cuban counterparts.
– “They had to falsify data by ‘treating’ nonexistent patients and destroying the drugs they ‘prescribed;’ were forced to pressure the real patients they treated to support the socialist and communist regimes that hired them; and regularly received threats and intimidation to keep them from leaving the program.”
– The host countries paid the doctors’ wage, which was given directly to the Cuban government, which then gave their doctors only a pittance for food.
– “Doctors who defect are branded ‘traitors to the fatherland’ and officially sentenced to eight years in prison … are instead exiled from the country for eight years, banned from having contact with their families.”
This may sound familiar in the Age of Covid: “I was forced to falsify patient histories and population statistics which, in order to comply with instructions, exceeded the real population of the place. Medicines were discarded and thrown for that: they were not used and expired because the population did not go to the doctor’s office given the remote location where it was located … Since they forced you to inflate the statistics to comply with the numbers that the Cuban government imposed, you had to play with the inventory and I could not stop ordering materials, because I was supposed to consume them because of the number of fake patients that I had to report as attended.”
The report details that the government confiscates 85% of the doctors’ salaries abroad, with the communist government of Cuba profiting on their backs $8.5 billion annually.
So why should we care? In my former life in naval aviation, we followed orders to dump thousands of pounds of jet fuel over the Atlantic to meet our operational numbers for the quarter. Decades later, we have seen in our country poor distribution systems and the threat of legal reprisals that have led to the waste of Covid vaccines that that are said to be desperately needed. Over the past year we have seen health systems, hospitals, and yes, individual physicians falsify data to satisfy government demands to inflate Covid death numbers.
What Cuba is doing to its export slave-doctors is horrible. But we might not want to jump on our high horse until we fix our own abuses here at home, and recognize their true origin.