Monday, February 04, 2008

Lamela Hides Behind A Smokescreen Of Lies

The politician who was principally responsible for the witch hunt of the doctors working in the Leganés hospital of Severo Ochoa finally showed his face on Saturday. It wasn’t a pretty face either, Manuel Lamela put on a defiant show, claiming that he was proud of everything he had done. The general response by the Partido Popular (PP) in Madrid to a judicial verdict which undermines their entire case against the doctors has been one that is now familiar. Instead of just accepting that they got things wrong and making the best of a bad job, the PP have decided instead to make matters worse by lying on a grand scale about the whole affair.

Lie number one was a small one compared to the rest, Lamela’s absence during the week in which the court’s verdict was announced was initially explained as a working trip. When he was eventually discovered skiing in the snobby Pyrenean resort of Baqueira he insisted that he saw no reason to interrupt his holidays just because some doctors he had accused of murdering patients had been cleared of all charges. A hole in a wall in a Metro station in Madrid provoked by some tunnelling works was however enough to make him return in clandestine fashion to Madrid for a day, before resuming his holidays.

The really big lie comes with the manipulation of statistics. The PP has loudly claimed in the last few days that the number of patients dying in the casualty unit in Severo Ochoa has decreased dramatically since Dr. Luis Montes was relieved of his post. The implication being, nudge nudge, that something must have been going on there. Now the basic data is true, the number of overall deaths has decreased, but for reasons which have nothing to do with doctors allegedly bumping off their sick patients. A new hospital was opened in nearby Fuenlabrada which dramatically cut the numbers being attended at Severo Ochoa. Taking this into account, and despite an instruction given that terminally ill patients should not be allowed to die in casualty, it turns out that the numbers dying per 100,000 people treated have in fact increased substantially. The lie of the statistics is normally accompanied by another one claiming that Montes was removed for administrative reasons unconnected to the claims about involuntary euthanasia.

Just in case these lies don’t work, the rearguard defence comes with Lamela and company claiming that they did no more than pass on the anonymous accusations they had received. If this was the case, and sadly it isn’t, then they should equally have no trouble in restoring to their positions those who have now been cleared of any wrongdoing. The final deception is to invert the burden of proof, suggesting that if the courts cannot demonstrate that there was no malpractice, then that could mean that there really was. Who said the Spanish Inquisition was dead? Now the PP and their friendly media have of course spent much time over the last few years perfecting this technique, if you can’t prove that ETA wasn’t involved in the Madrid train bombings then that means that they were! It’s a callous, hard-faced, response which consists of covering each lie with an even greater one. That those affected should be victims of terror or doctors attending the sick makes no difference to those behind the lies. Dr Montes has now announced he will take legal action against those in the media who called him Dr Death as they casually tossed insults and accusations of mass murder at him and his colleagues. I wish him every success.


AntónCampos said...

They are not the Inquisition, they are scary Spanish neocons. They just want to destroy the national health system.
Anyway, my favourite point of this article in El País was:
"El descenso [de fallecimientos] en urgencias se explica en que tras la salida de Montes, si un paciente estaba a punto de morir lo subían a planta por orden de la consejería. Según fuentes del centro, uno llegó a fallecer en el ascensor."
Quick translation: The decrease in the number of deaths is explained by the fact that, after Montes was dismissed, if a patient was about to die, he or she was sent to another floor following orders from the Consejería (Consejería de Sanidad, the Region of Madrid's Health Department). As hospital sources state, one of them got to die in the lift.

AntónCampos said...

Quick translation: "The decrease in the number of deaths in the ER", I forgot that bit.

Graeme said...

Hi Antón, I saw that piece in El País - it hardly needs any additional comment. My reference to the Inquisition concerned the methodology used (you are guilty unless you prove you are not) rather than any attempt to place Lamela and his crew in the Middle Ages....although now that I think about it.

AntónCampos said...

You're so right, the probatio diabolica...
With my comment I meant that it's not that they are crazy religious people you could (after all) ignore after a couple of demonstrations in front of abortion clinics, or rather nice, harmless "democristianos", they have a plan to dismantle the State and they have the power.
Thanks for the link!