At least 233 people died between 2019 and 2021 in hospitals in Venezuela due to power cuts, the National Hospital Survey (EHN), validated by the National Academy of Medicine, revealed on Wednesday.

“In 2019, the total number of deaths attributable to power outages in Venezuela was 17 people.

For 2020 it was 75 and at the end of 2021 it was 141,” making a total of 233 deaths over the period, according to the study.

A failing health system

Doctors from major hospitals in the country took part in the survey which was launched in 2014 to understand the shortcomings of the public health system, plagued by shortages of medicines, supplies and water and electricity cuts.

Those responsible for the investigation, grouped within the NGO Médicos por la Salud (Doctors for Health) began to identify the deaths that could be attributed to the power cuts after the 2019 blackout which had lasted four days.

Some “patients died because they needed artificial ventilation or had to undergo emergency surgery and could not be transferred inside the hospital because there was no elevator,” according to the report.

Recurring cuts

The increase in the number of deaths in 2021 could be linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the study.

“As this is a disease with respiratory involvement, the most severe patients required constant artificial ventilation for many days.

The fluctuation of energy obviously has consequences in these cases”.

Venezuela has experienced constant power cuts for more than ten years.

President Nicolas Maduro's power usually attributes them to acts of sabotage, as well as international sanctions designed to oust him from power.

However, experts agree that the energy crisis in hospitals is the result of years of mismanagement and lack of investment.

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