Doctor Had To Use Cell Phone Light In Operating Room

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Surgeon dismissed after raising concerns about Playa del Carmen hospital

A doctor in Playa del Carmen shined a light on the situation at the local hospital one time too many.


Óscar Hernández claims he was fired by state health authorities after raising concerns about conditions at the Playa del Carmen general hospital. The surgeon said things were so bad that he had to use the light on his cell phone to complete at least three surgical procedures because there was no electricity.

But it was shining a light on the hospital’s deficiencies in terms of supplies and equipment that apparently riled the Secretariat of Health.

The doctor called a meeting last month in the hospital’s auditorium to discuss conditions and how they might be improved. More than 150 hospital workers showed up to hear Hernández talk about electrical outages, unequal rates of pay and overworked nurses who are expected to tend to 20 patients during a shift when the limit should be six, illustrating his presentation with photos and video.

Video showed an operation in progress during which there was a power outage, and anesthetic equipment that wasn’t operating as a result. But an emergency power plant that should have kicked in was not functioning. Meanwhile, a patient was about to undergo a cesarean section.

One of those who attended the meeting was a health official who filmed the event, after which Hernández, who had worked at the hospital for five years, was dismissed for breach of contract.

The doctor has filed a complaint with the human rights commission.






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