Hospital director’s brother dies of COVID-19 while waiting for care at facility

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Tijuana’s General Hospital.

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Since the coronavirus pandemic started, eight people have died while waiting for medical attention at Tijuana hospitals, with the latest fatality occurring Monday at the city’s General Hospital.

The victim was a 74-year-old man who is said to have been the older brother of the person who ran the hospital.

Alonso Pérez Rico, Baja California’s Secretary of Health, said there is an investigation underway.

“I have the information from doctors at the General Hospital, but we’re still investigating,” he said.

According to Pérez Rico, four people died over the weekend under similar circumstances, waiting for medical attention.

“They all had issues with their oxygen levels, they were all older adults with conditions such as diabetes and obesity,” Pérez Rico said. “This is related to the patients’ condition when family members finally decide to bring them in, when they come in they’re in very bad shape, oxygen levels under 80 percent, some at 40 percent, they are patients who succumb within minutes before we can get oxygen to them.”

Hospitals in Tijuana are reportedly operating at near capacity and are running out of beds.

Pérez Rico says they have begun preparing the city’s basketball arena as a makeshift hospital, but he says finding doctors and nurses for the facility will be difficult.

“It requires at least 40 people.”

According to Pérez Rico, the temporary hospital will house patients in stable condition who don’t require a lot of attention.

“The problem is most patients arriving have moderate to severe symptoms,” he said.

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