Ifema, the “miracle hospital” of the Community of Madrid, left the nursing homes without toilets. Carlos Mur, the person in charge of medicalizing the residences of Madrid in the first wave of coronavirus, said this Wednesday in the regional Assembly that his plan depended on the primary care staff, but when the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso opened the field hospital homes as adults they were left without those human resources.
More than a thousand primary care health workers made up the staff of that hospital that was the flag of Ayuso’s health management in the first wave of the pandemic.
Carlos Mur during an interview for El País in October 2019 when he was managing director of socio-sanitary coordination in the Community of Madrid.
The time of Carlos Mur, the doctor who approved triages for the elderly in Madrid.
By videoconference from Barcelona and dressed in a robe, Mur has given a long-awaited statement for 90 minutesfor the relatives who lost elderly people in nursing homes since he is the author of the protocols that closed the doors of hospitals to elderly patients.
Those protocols signed by him are for them a proof of charge that they have presented before the Justice. Mur, 44, was the general director of social and health coordination, and was commissioned to save the lives of the elderly in residences.
He was dismissed on May 13 and now works as a psychiatrist in a private center in the Catalan capital. He has not been charged, but as the judicial investigation progresses, he could be cited. Today before a body that only seeks political responsibilities, he had less pressure, but he was obliged not to lie so as not to incur criminal liability.
Side B of the protocols was the medicalization of residences, but their own counseling made decisions that left the elderly who lived in those homes in the lurch. The decision to open Ifema was taken when it was already known that the coronavirus was devastating for the elderly in nursing homes.
On Tuesday, March 17, it was learned that at least 19 people had died in the Monte Hermoso nursing home. It was feared that if the virus entered other elderly homes it would cause great tragedy.
Despite this, Mur’s superiors decided to maintain the hospital exclusion protocols. Ifema was not going to be an exception. Mur was informed that the new field hospital, opened on Sunday March 22, had established criteria that excluded the elderly from nursing homes.
“The criteria that were transferred to us on March 19 to enter a person in Ifema was that they be patients without problems for the basic activity of daily life and without cognitive impairment”, Mur told the deputies. Only 23 seniors from nursing homes entered Ifema, as revealed by Infolibre.
Ifema was going to be “the largest hospital in Spain” with more than 5,000 beds, but eventually it stayed at just over 1,000. Despite the propaganda, its own manager, Antonio Zapatero, even said that it was a hangar, and not a hospital, to apologize for the limitations. Until its closure on May 1, only 23 nursing home seniors entered Ifema, as revealed by Infolibre.
Nor were the new medical hotels suitable for the elderly in residences, as the Escudero himself told him. “What they transmitted to all of us is that neither articulated beds nor auxiliary beds or gerocultors existed”, added Mur.
The lives of the residence elders depended on Mur, but his power was minimal. He had no direct jurisdiction over any health resource, no budget or capacity to hire, or staff under his charge, except for a secretary. He has described himself today as “a figure of consultant with the rank of CEO without command in place.”
For this reason, Mur delivers on Wednesday, March 25, “the comprehensive management of the covid 19 crisis” in the residences to the daughter of a PP collaborator, Encarnación Burgueño, and to a small ambulance company, Transamed. Today he wanted to reduce Burgueño’s role, saying that she was just another collaborator, but the documents of those days, published by EL PAÍS, contradict him.
Despite thousands of unworthy deaths at the residences, Mur has avoided blaming anyone. According to his version, the main responsibility was “the covid virus and its characteristics.” Then he lamented as causes of the high mortality the lack of protective equipment or the loss of nursing home professionals due to the disease.
“I always informed my direct superiors”
Mur has also provided new details on how the protocols were created. His signature appears in at least four versions distributed to hospitals and residences. He had the support of the Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero. “I always informed my direct superiors,” he said.
The documents were drawn up by Javier Martínez Peromingo, a geriatrician from Hospital Rey Juan Carlos de Móstoles, and were presented on Sunday, March 15, to the Sermas Support Table, chaired by Escudero. At that table sat the dome of the council, as well as a group of specialists, including Maite Vidán, a geriatrician at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital. Mur has highlighted that Vidán gave his approval to the documents.