Cuba: Cosmetic Surgery & Foul Play
July 17, 2012
HAVANA TIMES — There's a rumor circulating, outside of the newspapers.
The fact is that I heard several different versions the same day.
Someone on the bus was talking about how it was discovered that a doctor
at the Calixto Garcia Hospital had a private clinic for cosmetic
surgery, using materials taken from the hospital to treat his patients.
Shortly after, the drama touched me more close to home. A good friend
who came here all the way from Pinar del Rio Province for an exam at the
Workers Maternity Hospital had to go back home without being attended.
It turned out that her doctor had been arrested along with 20 other people.
Since then, I started collecting more information and came up with the
following: The director of Calixto Garcia Hospital (the ringleader of
the "project," apparently) had held the same position at the Workers
Maternity Hospital and had been transferred to Calixto Garcia due to his
outstanding performance, which explains why most of the doctors involved
were from Workers Maternity.
They would operate in those same hospitals, at night, and move the
patients by ambulance to houses transformed into clinics (requiring an
entire system involving nurses, orderlies and ambulance drivers).
Their specialty was cosmetic surgery, including implants, but also
cesarean sections. One of them told me that they even had a business for
So that was my version, if you have another one please share it.
Someone suggested that I use this post to demand the government provide
information about the case, but I won't fall into that trap. Who can
guarantee that the official version will be more credible than the
rumor? It will only be the official rumor.
When they to decide to release it, they might tell the story in specific
detail, with names and surnames of (almost) all those involved, the
number of years each was sentenced to and so on, but the matter would be
closed shut, right there.
An official report would never address how corrupt the whole structure
must be for something like that to ever happen.
This corruption took place under the direction of a senior
administrator. Though he managed public assets he was only accountable
to superiors, therefore this wasn't even about some rogue operator. The
system of service provision is in itself corrupt.
It's also corrupted because the health care personnel (like almost
everyone who works for the government here) earns a pittance that isn't
enough to survive on, and this situation is what forces them to commit
In other words, the official rumor (concurring with the police
investigation) would be mere cosmetic surgery itself.
Note 1: A similar case occurred recently at the Julio Trigo Hospital,
but since hospitals on the outskirts of town tend to be poor anyway, the
rumor didn't spread so far. The director had a paladar (private
restaurant) and was offering his patients' food to his customers. They
changed the manager but not the structure that allows functionaries to
have public goods at their unchecked disposal.
Note 2: Hospital security prevented us from taking more photos from the
street outside the premises of the Calixto Garcia Hospital. We obeyed,
since the security officer looked eager to take action.