Protocol Adherence for Quality Care ServicesBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 03/10/2021 - 16:23
Q: What added value does Lex Pro Humanitas (LPH) provide?
FH: I think we all know someone who has been a victim of medical negligence and the main reason why people cannot access justice is due to the lack of economic resources. Even though in Mexico healthcare is a right, we have observed that discrimination is an impediment to access. At Lex Pro Humanitas we wanted to be an actor of change and, beyond helping individuals, we seek to modify the law and establish fairer treatment.
With this in mind, we began focusing our work on reforming the law and introducing punishment for medical negligence, especially when it comes to female treatment. This reform is in progress in Morelos and it has already been introduced to the Senate to be applied at the federal level.
There have been several cases of sterilization without consent and these cases had a 95-97 percent of impunity due to the patient’s ignorance of their rights. Our main focus is the public sector because it is where people with limited resources receive care. However, we do have specialists who work with private sector issues. LPH’s main differentiator is its in-depth knowledge of legal matters, combined with our expertise and specialization in health and human rights.
FM: We are a social office that focuses on integral damage control for victims, based on human rights’ parameters. LPH is based on an ethical approach, which is why we not only offer our services to patients but to hospitals. We are not trying to create conflict between professionals and patients but to simply avoid unwanted situations. LPH offers training and consultation services to prevent medical professionals from falling into unethical practices or situations that could have been easily avoided by following lawful protocols. Our goal is to reduce the number of health incidences.
Q: How can Mexico effectively guarantee universal healthcare while providing quality care services?
FH: I think that one of the first steps is to guarantee quality of services with what the government already offers, and then move toward universal health. Mexico would not have to create an entirely different system but simply follow the protocols that are already established. These protocols are correct, based on international standards and support human rights. However, on many occasions, they are ignored by professionals. This is a common problem across the country. One of our more emblematic cases was in regard to the death of a baby that due to medical negligence died in the belly of the mother at La Raza Hospital. What is most concerning is that if this happened at one of the largest hospitals in the largest city in the country, what violations could we be missing in remote communities?
I want to clarify that we are not trying to criminalize doctors because, on many occasions, they are victims too as they have to work with limited supplies and unsuitable infrastructure. This is exactly why we are also promoting protocols. This would provide doctors with all the equipment and infrastructure they need to correctly operate and prevent tragic events. This responsibility will mainly fall on hospital directors.
FM: We also try to give victims access to all legal protection mechanisms available, such as criminal complaints, complaints before the National Human Rights Commission, claims for patrimonial liability and civil lawsuits.
Working on healthcare-related issues, we realized that there are quite common situations that are hardly ever prosecuted. We have also noticed that media attention is a determinant for solving a case because of the related social pressure. With COVID-19, however, we are seeing a general desensitization of medical professionals to the general public.
Q: LPH wants to reform the concept of “rights retention” in IMSS’ law. What would be the impact of the reform?
FH: This relates to IMSS’ budget. In a way, rights retention was positive because it recognized that an individual contributed to IMSS made them eligible for retirement payments. However, the economic impact of COVID-19 has meant losing 1.2 million formal jobs, forcing workers into the rights retention period to remain in IMSS’ system. When these people register enough weeks to be eligible for retirement, they will need to still work those weeks they were in retention rights, as if they owned that time. By eliminating this, we are trying to remove the extra time it would take workers to access their retirement.
Lex Pro Humanitas is a specialized group of lawyers that provides individualized legal advice and strategy under the strictest regulatory standards, in adherence to the firm’s values, ethical and professional rules.