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HEALTHCARE

Hospital chief fired over illegal immigrant's tuberculosis death

Balearics government sacks managing director following inquiry into treatment of Senegalese man

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The regional health chief in the Balearics, Martí Sansaloni. EFE

The regional government of the Balearic Islands on Wednesday dismissed the managing director of a Mallorca hospital following an ongoing inquiry into the death of an undocumented Senegalese immigrant from tuberculosis. A doctor and two nurses were also expelled over the possibility that a wrong diagnosis was made.

Twenty-eight-year-old Alpha Pam died in his home on April 21 without having received a proper diagnosis or any treatment for his condition. A report by the regional health department indicates that "a diagnostic error may have been committed by not having applied the rules of procedure when confronting a case of possible contact with tuberculosis."

Neither the emergency room doctor at the Inca hospital nor the nurse who carried out the initial evaluation when Pam arrived had warned of the case. Instead Pam was diagnosed with bronchitis without either an x-ray or being admitted. The hospital's admissions coordinator has also been reprimanded.

Regional health chief Martí Sansaloni admitted there had been mistakes and bad internal practice in his administrative and care systems, but the Balearics government rejected criticism that Pam had not been treated because he was an immigrant without required residency papers.

It insisted that it continued to universally treat undocumented migrants who are minors, pregnant, destitute or carriers of so-called public and mental health diseases without charge.

Following the recent introduction of a government decree related to migrant healthcare, public health centers across the Balearics, as in other regions, have been demanding illegal immigrants sign a payment commitment before receiving treatment.