A physician is mutilated and tortured for allegations in malpractice. A call for justice.

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A doctor that works for a governmental hospital that assists public health in Mexico (IMSS) was the victim of brutal violence and human rights violations this past month in Mexico. As The Justice in Mexico Project and multiple newspapers, like El Universalreported: “Doctor “M” was abducted the night of Thursday, July 31 as she left the hospital.  The doctor was kidnapped and held hostage for six days, until neighbors reported to the Red Cross they heard somebody was screaming next door.  During her time held captive, the abductors tortured, beat, and mutilated her. Doctor “M” was the presumed target of such violence because she was involved in a patient’s care weeks before. According to the hospital staff, “The woman arrived at an advanced stage in her pregnancy, and the baby was already dead inside her womb. That happened because the mother waited too long to seek medical attention…” Yet, the patient’s family instead accused the staff of being negligent in their care, and thus responsible for the death of the child. The kidnappers cut off the Doctor fingers, and made severe lacerations to her abdomen, trying to mimic the common operation known as a cesarean section (“c-section”). They also cut her breast, uterus and ovaries. They then forced Doctor “M” to write a warning on the wall of the patio where was being held to the other hospital staff, reading, “The other gynecologists that killed my son will follow.””

There have been different views by different organizations. Advocates that defend physicians and human rights include Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), IMSS, and Yo soy medico #17. You would expect that the authorities would be the ones in support of apprehending the suspects, but not in Mexico. The General State of Justice (PGJE) and state goverment have recently denied the crime. They stated that after several investigations they concluded the doctor faked being kidnapped and she beat and mutilated herself.

This has caused an outrageous reaction from the society who knows the lack of justice there is currently in Mexico and how the government protects strong groups that typically commit this type of brutal violence.  Let’s hope that the CNDH and other social groups continue to put pressure on the government and PGJE to put their act together and start working for a new Mexico where there is justice and respect for human rights.

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5 Responses to “A physician is mutilated and tortured for allegations in malpractice. A call for justice.”

  1. alwajeehem Says:

    Very sad story. I wonder how many physician will resign in that Hospitals! The criminals forcing the doctor to write “for killing my son”, looks like they are not afraid to be discovered by the government. Medicine is a noble career, but unfortunately, such tragedy might turn this career to a curse.

  2. ryomiyakawa Says:

    As a pediatric resident who is hoping to pursue career in global health, this news is horrifying. I understand the sensitive nature of medicolegal issues, but this kind of torture and mutilation is clearly excessive. I am interested in how the government will react to this…

  3. sybilklaus Says:

    This is a tragic story for everyone involved. I am sad to read that the government does not plan to investigate this story further. Your story describes a situation with so many challenges including: poor pre-natal care for the community; a lack of trust of the health care workers; vigilante behavior of the community. It sounds as though a serious change is needed in this community.

  4. edmundkeane Says:

    The role health workers play in different communities is a very complex topic. We have spent time in Dr. Brieger’s SBF PHC focusing on communities with deep spiritual beliefs. Often the types of interventions viewed as ethically responsible in one culture may be interpreted in an entirely different manner in other communities.

    This reminds me of the instance referenced a number of times throughout Dr. Brieger’s lectures where bed-nets for Malaria defense were reminiscent of burial shrouds to certain groups of people. Obviously here the doctor was vilified and paid brutally for the beliefs of whoever was responsible (I suspect there were some spiritual beliefs involved here as well).

    I think you’re right to point out the important role that social groups (journalists in particular) will play in exposing this type of violence to the global community. Hopefully this will bring about more structural change to a community currently experiencing substantial political and societal unrest.

  5. drkhaira Says:

    I read this post and couldn’t believe both the brutality perpetrated by the family, and the ignorance of the government response. My family was subjected to heinous religious persecution and similar brutality during the months leading up to the Indo-Pak split in 1945. My grandfather would cry telling me of the loss of his sons, his family legacy, and the suffering of millions due to this horrible travesty. I find the story of the doctors torture equally disturbing. How long will our posterity take to learn that revenge, brutality, and abject rejection of common decency only erodes our humanity. I cannot fathom how anyone could subject another human being to such horror. Or to what end would anyone have to go to in order to take the life of another. I see no end in sight.

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