New health law death shakes up Majorca

The manager of a hospital in Majorca was fired on Wednesday after staff at his clinic repeatedly refused to treat a Senegalese man who later died of tuberculosis.

New health law death shakes up Majorca
Pam was first not tended to, then made to sign a guarantee of payment slip and finally given a general check-up. File Photo: julikeishon/Flickr

The Balearic Islands’ Health minister Martí Sansaloni agreed to remove the director of Comarca de Inca Hospital from his position following the death of Alpha Pam, a young Senegalese man who had been living on the island for eight years but didn’t have a Spanish health card.

Pam first tried to get treatment six months ago when he found out that someone in his entourage had contracted the deadly but easily treatable disease, online daily 20 minutos reported in April.

After going to an outpatient’s clinic on seven occasions, he was sent to Comarca de Inca hospital to receive treatment.

Pam was first not tended to, then made to sign a guarantee of payment slip and finally given a general check-up.

The young Senegalese man passed away in his home on the 21st of April.

His death is the first official case linked to a new law introduced in August of last year which prevents undocumented immigrants from having a health card and only allows them to be treated in the emergency room, regardless of whether they are registered with the state.

Spain's government denied on Wednesday that racial discrimination played any role in Pam's death.

"In no way, and this is the important thing, was there any discrimination related to the origin or condition of the person being cared for," Health Minister Ana Mato told Parliament.

"Unfortunately, mistakes are sometimes made but that has nothing to do with the health service."

Spanish NGO Médicos del Mundo and local political party MES per Mallorca condemned the act of negligence as soon as they heard of Pam’s death and are currently threatening to take legal action against the Balearic Islands’ Health minister Martí Sansaloni for failure to provide medical assistance.

Last week, a British couple seeking urgent medical attention for their baby were forced to make a dawn dash for €132 cash as a result of a similar "extreme" application of the controversial Royal Decree Law (RDL) 16/2012 which was introduced last year.

The law imposed severe cuts on the Spanish National Health System and states unregistered foreigners should be refused medical assistance.

Not all autonomous communities in Spain have enforced the law yet. 

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime