Stress, frustration and uncertainty combine in the situation of Dane Sullivan, a patient who is currently unconscious, and has not been able to be repatriated to his country of origin (United States). According to what is unofficially known, this situation is due to the refusal of Dr. García, the health professional in charge of this case at the Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia hospital to give the respective authorization.
This is how this man of American nationality and who is known to have been in Costa Rica since March has not been able to return to his country despite the critical state of health, which apparently has been progressively worsening.
An irregular situation coinciding with the COVID-19 confinement
In these times of the Coronavirus Pandemic that the world lives, there are many alternatives with regards to measures adopted to avoid the spread of the Virus, like the use of face masks, the correct washing of hands, physical distancing between people, together to the use of other virtual technology to attend health issues. These are some of the new ways that we have adapted in our lives.
It is no secret to anyone that once the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in our territory a series of measures were taken by the National Executive to prevent the spread of the Virus, highlighting the prohibition of international travel in order to safeguard the citizen`s health.
It is important to clarify that there is a legal protocol to follow for obtaining special travel permits in situations such as those presented by this foreign citizen, which would require a humanitarian type of travel permit.
Attending the complaint
Recently, the reporter team of The Costa Rica News, was contacted by the representative of the AeroCare Air Ambulance System. Making known to our media outlet and to the society in general, the problem that is currently developing in the midst of the dispute by medical specialists by not giving the medical discharge order, continuing the said patient to be retained in the healthcare center.
Likewise, AeroCare Air Ambulance System has been emphatic in stating that: “all the legal and safety protocols are ready, under the framework of the health recommendations to carry out the transfer of the patient”, that is why it has decided to break the silence and denounce this situation occurring in Costa Rica in times of Pandemic.
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Another perspective, stands out from the legal point of view
Our consulted legal specialist Gloria Oñate, has been emphatic stating that, in these types of cases, the last word to authorize a travel process for transfering a sick person from one country to another is taken by the treating doctor.
Until the treating doctor gives the authorization for the travel process, no permission from the State can be valid to remove a sick person from a medical institution. Especially when the person, due to his health condition, cannot give the consent. The responsibility then falls on the immediate family members, who must agree with the doctor to authorize the departure from the healthcare center, adds Oñate.
The present Coronavirus Pandemic has created many negative situations, like the separation of families, having no income or where to live, also becoming ill (with non-COVID ailments).
Lawyer Oñate recommends in this case, following the WHO health protocols for which the different countries should resume authorization of humanitarian flights in order to allow that the foreign nationals stranded in different parts of the world returning to their countries of origin.
Without a doubt, these types of situations have become more common in recent days the world around. While globally people await patiently for this health situation to pass, different complex situations continue to unfold and they should be constructively addressed by all those involved.