Yesterday, a Spanish court ordered Valencia’s regional health department to pay compensation to doctors who filed a lawsuit against it. He referred to the inability to ensure the safety of doctors in the midst of a pandemic.
During the deadliest first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as voiced by Judge Ricard, from March to May 2020, doctors in Alicante (a city in Spain) received one mask per week (!) As protection against infection when treating patients. And even later, in early June, they were forced to reuse disposable protective equipment.
The court in Alicante made a fair decision and ordered the authorities to pay compensation to 153 plaintiffs. The amount depends on whether doctors were infected with Covid-19 during the treatment of patients in the absence of elementary means of protection – from 5,000 to 49,180 euros each.
The court also concluded that the authorities’ failure to provide personal protection put “all medical professionals at serious risk to their health and safety”.
Victor Pedrera, Secretary General of the Union of Physicians in Valencia (CESM-CV), noted that the region has a particularly high number of doctors infected with coronavirus. Its first wave, in 2 months from March 15, 2020, claimed the lives of 28,000 people. He also said that approximately 1,000 more doctors in four Spanish cities – Valencia, Benidorm, Elche and Castellone – filed claims using the CESM-CV. After the court’s decision, he said:
“We were pioneers. I believe that many (other) groups of doctors and medical professionals will also sue.”
Although the Alicante court’s decision is subject to appeal, it is unlikely to be changed. As Judge Barrio said, a similar decision of the court in Teruel, in the town next to Aragon, was considered in the appellate court in September 2020 and left unchanged.