Hospital pulls prosthesis from penniless patient

A young man who underwent a complex knee operation might never be able to walk properly again after doctors refused to give him the prosthesis needed for his recovery. The reason: his family didn't have the €152 it cost.

Hospital pulls prosthesis from penniless patient
Adrián García hasn't been able to do sport or any form of demanding physical exercise since he suffered a serious fall in the mountains at the age of 14. File Photo: audreyjm529/Flickr

23-year-old Adrián García has not been able to do sport or any form of demanding physical exercise since he suffered a serious fall in the mountains at the age of  14.

Last Monday he underwent surgery at Arnau de Vilanova Hospital in Valencia in the hope that he would be able to live a normal, healthy life like other people of his age.

The complex operation proved to be a success and by Thursday García was ready for the orthopaedics department to fit a prosthesis that would keep his leg straight while healing.

But the orthopaedics company rejected the young man’s claim for the prosthetic device after he told them his family would only be able to pay the €152 it cost at the end of the month.

They removed the initial apparatus and put his leg in plaster; a decision that García insists has meant his knee is not immobile and may never recover.

“I might never be able to walk properly again,” García told local news daily Levante EMV.

“They never told us we had to pay for the prosthesis before the operation,” argued his sister María Dolores.

“Had they told us beforehand, we would have found the way somehow. But they didn’t tell us until they were actually putting it on him.”

Valencia’s regional government informed the family that the orthopaedics department was following standard procedure as only internal prosthetics are covered by Spain’s social security. 

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REMINDER: What are the new Covid restrictions in Spain’s Valencia region?

If you live in or are soon visiting Alicante, Valencia or Castellón, these are the new eased restrictions for the coastal region starting on Monday May 24th 2021.

REMINDER: What are the new Covid restrictions in Spain's Valencia region?
Photo: Jose Jordán/AFP

The Comunidad Valenciana’s persistently low infection rate – currently 20 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days – has allowed regional authorities to ease coronavirus restrictions, some of the strictest in Spain since the start of the third wave in January.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re living in or visiting the Valencia region soon. 


The curfew will remain in place in the region after May 24th but it will start later than previously, at 1am instead of midnight. That means that except for exceptional reasons, nobody can be outdoors from 1am to 6am. 

Valencian regional president Ximo Puig has stressed that if the epidemiological situation remains stable, the curfew – or toque de queda in Spanish – will be lifted as of June 7th.

Bars, cafés and restaurants

From Monday 24th, bars, restaurants and cafés can stay open until 12.30 am, one hour later than the previous closing time.

A capacity of 50 percent is allowed inside the premises and 100 percent on outdoor terraces. 

Sitting at the bar, smoking (including electronic cigarettes or hookahs) and dancing  indoors or outdoors are still prohibited.

Family and social gatherings

A limit of 10 people is established in public spaces both outdoors and indoors, except in the case of people who are living under the same roof. 

Inside homes and other private use spaces, the limit of 10 people also applies and only people from two households can gather.

Beaches and nature

The use of the mask is still mandatory when walking around on beaches, around swimming pools, lakes and other natural spaces.

However, as long as you can keep a distance of 1.5 metres with others, you will be allowed to take off your mask while sunbathing or sitting in one spot at the beach. 

If you’re going for a dip in the sea, you don’t have to wear a mask as it’s incompatible with swimming, whereas if you’re going for a stroll along the shore you do have to keep your mask on. 

Groups at the beach, swimming pool or in nature cannot exceed ten people.

Celebrations and events

The capacity is increased up to 75 percent for activities relating to celebrations, events or gatherings of a sporting, cultural or social nature, as well as for political rallies.

In churches and other places of worship it’s still important to abide by a safe distance of 1.5 metres between gatherers.

In enclosed spaces, a maximum of 3,000 people are allowed, while in open spaces, the limit is set at 4,000 people. 

In both cases, the capacity has to be separated into groups of 1,000 people each.

 In addition, eating and drinking will only be allowed in areas specially enabled for this purpose.


How Spain’s Valencia region achieved one of Europe’s lowest infection rates