Sunday, 23 August 2015

Dentist Accused of Hiding Material Worth Thousands of Pesos!

I thought about entitling this blog "It Could Only Happen in Mexico" but then I got to thinking that crazy situations present themselves everywhere you go, not just here in Mexico. So ........ as all the following shenanigans are now public knowledge having been reported extensively in the local Spanish language newspaer, Laguna, I decided to use the headline used in the paper.

Some months ago, I wrote a blog post on the appalling lack of materials and equipment at the local dental clinic housed in the Centro de Salud where free treatment is provided to the poorest residents of Ajijic by Dr.Miguel Villasenor who volunteers his time every weekend and holiday and where Dave & I assist.

There is a salaried dentist there from Monday to Friday who is very difficult to track down - the local Delgado (a bit like a town mayor) has called several times during working hours and can't locate this guy who seems to keep his own hours and do the bare minimum of work. There is also a senior nurse manning the reception desk on weekdays and a health centre manager. These folks have made life extremely difficult for Dr Villasenor by hiding the clinic key, hiding remote controls and every week hiding a different item or two from our miniscule stock of materials or instruments. Over the past five months since the inception of the dental service, Miguel has spent over 60,000 Pesos on materials, all funded from his own pocket so that he can continue to provide this desperately needed service. All the while  he was being told by the centre management that the Secretary of State for Health had not ordered any materials for the clinic.

On Saturday 7th August, Miguel was reduced to placing fillings with a pair of scissors as no other equipment was available. But, on Sunday 9th August, a huge stash of materials and instruments was discovered hidden in a filing cabinet on the premises. There was a curing lamp, several sets of forceps, a micro motor handpiece, amalgamator, syringes, gloves resins and much, much more totalling in the region of 100,000 pesos! Dave was present when this huge haul was found as were several patients, Absolutely unbelieveable!
Some of the equipment 
                                                   Materials & equipment

More materials
Hector, the Delgado was informed along with Harry who organised the fund raising for the provision of the dental chair and unit and the Laguna paper and police were notified. Miguel and Hector were interviewed and we think the journalist tipped off the centre manager and the weekday dentist because the manager suddenly took leave of absence and the dentist filed an accusation against Miguel stating he'd stolen personal property although we still don't know what Miguel is supposed to have stolen!

As a result of the allegation of theft, Miguel was called before the administrator of the local area Health Board in La Barca but I guess they didn't expect a delegation of 20 local people to arrive to support him both verbally and with written testimonials. Strangely, the accuser was never asked to attend! Miguel and his support team produced documented and photographic evidence of the stash of hidden materials and very soon the Administrator stopped being antagonistic towards Miguel and decided to refer the whole issue to a higher authority.

So last week, once again, the whole support team trooped off - this time to Poncitlan to meet with the high up bods of the Secretary of State for Jalisco who eventually found for Miguel and against the bad service provided to the local population by the Centro de Salud. They noted changes that needed to be made and that these MUST be in place within one month. They noted the problem wasn't just the hidden dental materials but the terrible service which had been provided by the Centro de Salud to the local people for many years.

We're still unclear as to what is going to happen to the weekday dentist, the senior nurse or the centre manager as they failed to attend for the investigation despite being advised to attend. Hector, the Delgado is campaigning for their removal from office so let's hope he's successful.

Anyway, our dental service will continue ...... at least at weekends and we now have some extra materials and instruments so we're all happy!

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