Young Indian Girl Died From a Lack of Medical Attention

Press Release

Ref. IPRE9425

Thirty two Indians from the community of Comite Burica [in Costa Rica] denounced the death of the Indian Francisca Bejarano Palacios, barely 18 years old, to the Comision Costarricense de Derechos Humanos (CODEHU). Francisa, who in spite of the state of her health, was not properly attended to by the authorities of the Hospital of Ciudad Neily.

According to the report, last June 22, 1994, Santiago Bejano Palacios, and Porfirio Jimenez Bejarano (father and husband of Francisca), moved her from Naranjo to Laurel de Corredores with the idea that health professionales would attended to her given her poor state of health.

The authorities of the Guardia de Asistencia Rural (GAR) collaborated in moving the sick girl to the community of Laurel where she was transported by a Red Cross ambulance to the Hospital of Ciudad Neily to which they arrived at 2 in the afternoon of the 22th of June, as confirmed Santos Matarrita, functionary of that "NOSCOMIO"????

As she was attmited in the emergency room, she was given, according to the reporters of the crime, "some pills, they injected her and immediately ordered her release".

Considering this, the Indians chose to return to the community, but because of the rainy weather, and since they had to cross the Rio la Vaca, they decided to stay at the home of Isidro Alvarez Moraga, located in Caracol de la Vaca.

The following day at 5 in the morning, they went to Rio la Vaca. Fifty meters before it, Francisca fainted and died five minutes later.

According to Gilbert Castro Rodriguez, driver of the Costa Rican Red Cross, at the moment of moving her to the hospital of Neily, the patient suffered from stomach ache, nausea, sweating and other symptoms.

CODEHU has sollicted the authorites of the Hospital of Ciudad Neily information about the times of admittance and release of the patient, the name of the medical personnel who examined her, as well as the conditions or symptoms that the patient suffered from.

Also, information corresponding to the medication of the girl and the critera which were used to release her was requested. CODEHU, on considering the right to health care as one of the fundamental human rights, asks the Costa Rican authorities to investigate the claim presented by the Indians of Compte- as well as the improvement of the administration to provide better attention to the Indians in the hospitals near the indigenous communities.

Especially, the appointment of people capable to attend the Indians in their native languages is needed, since their level of education and knowledge of Spanish does not allow them open and free communication.