By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The closing of the IASERJ Hospital (Instituto de Assistência aos Servidores do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) in Centro was underway on Sunday, aided by military police charged with escorting ambulances carrying patients to alternative care facilities. Despite efforts put in to the move, some patients and relatives felt frustration and indignation, with many relatives claiming poor treatment during the move and questioning the heavy police involvement.

People protest outside IASERJ hospital after the closure was announced, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
People protest outside IASERJ hospital after the closure was announced, image recreation.

One patient’s wife reported to O Globo “Nobody here is a bad guy and there is no need to send riot police. This is a shame. My husband is hospitalized for a month because of a stroke. They are transferring him in the middle of the night, I can not go into hospital to get information.”

One doctor who wished to remain anonymous admitted fears for any patient in need of a blood transfusion, explaining “They knocked out the structure and also the hospital blood bank, and now we can not transfer or treat here.”

The Department of Health released a statement on Sunday morning describing that the appropriate level of care and consideration had gone in to the re-distribution of IASERJ’s patients to Getulio Vargas state hospital and various others in Rio. The Department of Health also reiterated the necessity for police involvement as the move was made public late on Thursday night.

“To perform the migration a joint action involving more than forty professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, staff of humanization and firefighters was set up. A medical team examined medical records, examinations and clinical status of each patient to determine the condition of transfer.” the statement explained.

In spite of this statement, the director of IASERJ was reported to be surprised at the removal of patients stating, “I was not notified about any transfer of a patient, I was surprised. The removals are being carried out in an irresponsible manner. Not respecting me as a professional.”

The Department of Health have assured however that no service will be shut down or interrupted and that none at IASERJ will be put at risk.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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