May 22, 2013
Moreno hospital on strike after violence
At least eight people were injured in a hospital shootout and knife-fight between two gangs in Moreno, western Greater Buenos Aires, on Sunday afternoon. Doctors and hospital workers responded by going on strike for an indefinite period to demand greater security measures.
The incident occurred at the Mariano and Luciano de la Vega Hospital, Moreno, after a group of people entered the hospital to apparently avenge the death of a 27-year-old man in a confrontation and met a different group who had accompanied a wounded young man following the same tussle.
Medical staff working at the hospital, represented by the CICOP Buenos Aires province health workers’ union, the ATE state workers’ union and the Public Health Union, responded by going on strike for an undeterminedperiod.
Due to the strike, only patients already interned and emergencies were treated by the hospital, where the intake areas were blockaded yesterday morning. Buenos Aires province Health Minister Alejandro Collia yesterday promised a “solution in 24 or 48 hours” to “guarantee the safety” of personnel employed by the hospital.
The ATE secretary-general for Moreno, Alicia Meynard, stated yesterday that “hospital workers frequently suffer aggression as a result of crime,” while adding that “this is the only public hospital in all Moreno” and stating that “the area has a population of over 500,000 inhabitants.”
CICOP secretary María Teresa Sosa stated that “the strike is for an indeterminate period, and only emergencies or already interned will be treated until the ministry responds to our demand. (The ministry) committed to putting four police officers to guard the hospital and to returning (today) with a security expert, and that they would find a solution.”
“The situation that the hospitals are in in Buenos Aires province is serious due to crime. We have been requesting an audience regarding this issue with Governor (Daniel Scioli), and we hope that we will not have to wait for someone to die for him to see us,” said the union representative.
In a statement released by the ministry, Collia expressed his “support and solidarity” with hospital staff, despite being booed on his arrival at the health centre. The minister insisted that “three policemen, as well as the one already there, will work permanently to coordinate private security, 24 hours per day, for the whole year.”
“On the request of (Governor Scioli), I am going to spend this week personally supervising the reorganization of the hospital to monitor the situation and prevent and reduce the levels of conflict,” said Collia.
Police sources reported yesterday that the fight between the two gangs had started in a house on the corner of Lisandro de La Torre and Honduras streets, Moreno. According to the sources, Fabián Lionel Méndez, 35, and Jorge Villanueva, 45, among others, had entered the house and a fight had ensued which saw the death by stabbing of Hugo Daniel Ortiz, 27.
The alleged murderer, who was wounded during the confrontation, escaped with his co-aggressors, and attempted to seek medical attention for the injured party at the Moreno hospital at about 6pm. In the hospital, the group allegedly delivered “several blows” to emergency ward staff, while the wounded man was transferred to the X-ray centre, where other employees were hit, according to hospital sources.
At this point, a group of Ortiz’s acquaintances, who had followed the first group, forced their way into the hospital and began a shootout and knife-fight with the other gang. At least eight people were wounded, but both gangs escaped, aided by their co-aggressors. People who had previously been waiting to be attended hid in a side-room while the shootout occurred. Hospital director Rubén Rossi stated to the press yesterday that “there was a policeman on guard for the whole weekend, as well as private security, but this is an issue that is not new. We had a security problem two months ago.”
Herald with DyN