An internal medicine doctor in Colombia cried for help after he received death threats in the form of two funeral wreath following the death of a woman who had been infected with the coronavirus.
‘I received two crowns, one at work and one at my residence,’ Dr. José Julian Buelvas said amid tears. ‘They accuse me of having let a lady die in the ICU. By God, it is impossible.’
The disturbing incident took place Monday in Soledad, a city in the department of Atlántico, after Buelvas had seen his last patient at 1pm local time.
The first wreath was dropped off by an unknown person at approximately 2pm at Adela de Char Maternal and Children’s Hospital. He was shocked by a second similar delivery at his home.
Buelvas pleaded with the government to offer him protection while demanding that all health workers be allowed to carry on with their duties without having to worry about reprisals.
‘How much longer! We go out to work every day and many times we don’t even have the minimum conditions to work and despite this we face this pandemic,’ he said.
The Soledad municipal health department was forced to shut down service in the emergency unit after eight doctors handed in their resignation in a show of solidarity with Buelvas.
Colombia President Iván Duque promised Buelvas that those responsible for the threatening act would be arrested and prosecuted, while guaranteeing him and his family protection.
‘Threatening those who are protecting lives, health professionals for doing their duty, is mean, miserable and you deserve an exemplary punishment by the justice system,’ Duque said in a video statement on Twitter on Tuesday night.
‘We know that this has happened in several cities of the country with several professionals … We will not allow this type of behavior to occur in our country when many more health professionals are giving everything to protect our citizens.’
As of Wednesday, the department of Atlántico reported 6,671 confirmed coronavirus cases and 246 deaths, second behind Bogotá in both categories.
Overall, the ravaging coronavirus has produced 1,373 deaths and 40,847 infections in Colombia.