The Neurosurgery service of La Arrixaca, a regional reference, has dragged on significant delays for years, especially in Vascular Surgery. The best known case is that of Juana Vidal, who in 2014 suffered a ruptured carotid artery after seven months on the waiting list to be operated on for a brain aneurysm. The patient had denounced weeks before in LA VERDAD that her operation had been suspended on several occasions. Finally, the break occurred the day before the last date indicated to enter the operating room, and the SMS had to compensate the family with 600,000 euros.
For years, there has been a lack of hands and operating rooms to face a scheduled surgery as complex as vascular, which must be combined with a significant volume of urgent and priority interventions. “In Murcia there is one neurosurgeon for every 120,000 people, while in communities like Valencia, one for every 70,000,” says Claudio Piqueras, head of the service. “The problem is that we have ten operating rooms a week, when there should be 30,” he sums up.
But a 2019 report made by one of the service’s deputies, and presented to the Directorate of La Arrixaca, pointed to incorrect planning as the main reason for the traffic jam. In his letter, the professional warned of a 37% reduction in the number of vascular surgery cases operated on since 2014, while waiting times grew “disproportionately and unacceptably.” As a consequence, “both the total number of cases awaiting treatment and the average time of delay have reached previously unseen levels”, with periods exceeding one year. This professional denounced that “the main cause of the increase in the surgical waiting list is the lack of adequate periodic scheduling” of these interventions.
The situation has improved in recent months, with delays cut by almost half
Both the head of the service, Claudio Piqueras, and the hospital management, emphasize that the situation has begun to improve thanks to a new operating room in the afternoon. Thus, currently, there are four patients with delays of more than one year, compared to the 39 who were in this situation in May 2020, according to the figures provided by Management. From an average wait of 182 days to be operated on, it has gone to 97.
But a complaint filed last month warns that three Vascular patients would still face delays of 700, 500 and 340 days, respectively. The brief was presented by MG, the doctor who faces a disqualification sanction for numerous irregularities, and is directed against the three colleagues in the service who previously reported him to the Management. The internal situation in the service is explosive.