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New health law death shakes up Majorca

Alex Dunham · 22 May 2013, 17:37

Published: 22 May 2013 17:37 GMT+02:00

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The Balearic Islands’ Health minister Martí Sansaloni agreed to remove the director of Comarca de Inca Hospital from his position following the death of Alpha Pam, a young Senegalese man who had been living on the island for eight years but didn’t have a Spanish health card.

Pam first tried to get treatment six months ago when he found out that someone in his entourage had contracted the deadly but easily treatable disease, online daily 20 minutos reported in April.

After going to an outpatient’s clinic on seven occasions, he was sent to Comarca de Inca hospital to receive treatment.

Pam was first not tended to, then made to sign a guarantee of payment slip and finally given a general check-up.

The young Senegalese man passed away in his home on the 21st of April.

His death is the first official case linked to a new law introduced in August of last year which prevents undocumented immigrants from having a health card and only allows them to be treated in the emergency room, regardless of whether they are registered with the state.

Spain's government denied on Wednesday that racial discrimination played any role in Pam's death.

"In no way, and this is the important thing, was there any discrimination related to the origin or condition of the person being cared for," Health Minister Ana Mato told Parliament.

"Unfortunately, mistakes are sometimes made but that has nothing to do with the health service."

Spanish NGO Médicos del Mundo and local political party MES per Mallorca condemned the act of negligence as soon as they heard of Pam’s death and are currently threatening to take legal action against the Balearic Islands’ Health minister Martí Sansaloni for failure to provide medical assistance.

Story continues below…

Last week, a British couple seeking urgent medical attention for their baby were forced to make a dawn dash for €132 cash as a result of a similar "extreme" application of the controversial Royal Decree Law (RDL) 16/2012 which was introduced last year.

The law imposed severe cuts on the Spanish National Health System and states unregistered foreigners should be refused medical assistance.

Not all autonomous communities in Spain have enforced the law yet. 

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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