Guayaquil Ecuador:Want to visit a patient in Clínica Panamericana? Be prepared to pay a bribe

Posted on December 29, 2012 • Filed under: Corruption, Crime, Ecuador, Latin America Health, Politics, Social Issues

One of the complaints ofter heard about Ecuador, is the high rate of corruption among government employees and law enforcement. The following examples demonstrate that the pernicious act of corrupt activity reaches many levels of society in Ecuador, even when it comes to visiting a patient in a hospital. This information was provided by roving reporter “MONTUBIO”.

The following examples of corruption at the Clínica Panamericana took place between December 10, and December 23, 2012.

Clínica Panamericana is an established clinic/hospital located in Guayaquil Ecuador. Guards are posted at the entrance to the clinic and charged with the protection of patients and visitors. Some of the guards have taken their responsibility as an opportunity to extort money from visitors to the clinic/hospital. Guards often will ask if you are carrying food – which is apparently not allowed to be brought from outside the hospital. There are no rules posted anywhere on the premises regarding this practice. A unique cultural aspect of Ecuador is that in most cases a family member will be present throughout the patients time in the clinic.

Incident Number 1:
Visitor went to cafeteria to purchase meal for a visiting family member staying over night with patient. Due to the cafeteria being closed, visitor asked guard if he could leave hospital and purchase a sandwich for the family member. Several days earlier the visitor who had struck up a conversation with the guard at the front door – gave the guard a cola – the guard asked why? and the visitor responded that it was Christmas.

When the visitor asked about bringing in a sandwich he told the guard he would also be happy to bring him another cola. The guard said that he liked “cola cash” in Spanish – “do you know what I mean”. The visitor responded yes – as the word “cola” is often used as a code word for bribe in Ecuador. The visitor left and returned with the sandwich – and of course a cola in another bag for the guard. There was little alternative but to submit or the family member not to eat during a twelve hour stay with the relative.

Incident Number 2:

Family member of patient tried to enter clinic during visiting hours and another guard told her that it would cost her a large bottle of water. Visitor left and returned with bottle of large water and was permitted entrance into the hospital.

Incident Number 3:

Visitor in line to enter Clínica Panamericana observed guard accepting cash from a visitor to gain entrance to the hospital. Visitor confronted guard about accepting the money and said he was an embarrassment. From that point on the guard treated this visitor very politely, did not ask for money and said to let him know if she needed anything.

Another incident that deserves reporting. During the same time frame indicated above – a Kentucky Fried Chicken delivery person was observed dropping off a large order to staff in the ICU unit which claims to be highly secure and requires protective clothing to enter. Evidently the rule about outside food coming in the hospital does not apply to staff in a highly secure area.

Share This Story
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email