In the face of the coronavirus emergency, some people have chosen, in exchange for a monetary bonus, to engage in issuing death certificates, a free format issued by the Ministry of Health of Mexico City (Sedesa) in which doctors with a valid professional record register the cause of death. The "managers" or "coyotes" they offer the document placing in it that deaths with symptoms of COVID-19 are due to asthma or atypical pneumonia.
As part of a journalistic exercise, Political Animal compiled information on the practices of these "managers", who are inside a court specially authorized by the Civil Registry at the headquarters of the Sedesa Health Protection Agency, in the Cuauhtémoc mayor's office.
By hypothetically asking the "coyote" that a 40-year-old relative with chronic respiratory disease (asthma) has died with symptoms of COVID-19, but without having been tested to confirm, or rule out, the disease, He responded by offering his service packages and guaranteeing, with the help of a doctor, classify death as a case of atypical pneumonia, contrary to the official indication that patients like this are registered as "probable COVID-19".
Likewise, the service provider stated that after the certificate was issued, you will get the death certificate in one day, when generally it takes four to seven business days. The report reads:
"Look," continues the manager. “We can make a package with the death certificate and the direct cremation service, or in his case burial. We go for the body, we certify it and we charge 15 thousand pesos, but we already release everything. Include the coffin if it is burial; if it is cremation, nothing else is the septic bag and the urn. We release the procedures, the certificate, the crematorium, the death certificate and the permits to cremate or inhume it ”
So the package includes pick up the body in a hearse and keep it in an embalmer and funeral home in the Obrera neighborhood until the family member indicates what they want to do with the body. According to the report, a manager collaborator stated that the advantage of these services is that families can be sure that the ashes correspond to their loved one:
"It can help you in a matter of what the Ministry of Health (Sedesa) is doing is handling the cremation of the body and giving it to you in a ballot box; The difference with this is that, just like you, you have the certainty that your family member's body is cremated, because you cannot watch over or do any manipulation of the body.
Another aspect that the work reveals is that this practice affects the official statistics on deaths caused by coronavirus disease. Roberto García, vice president of the National Association of Funeral Directors (ANDF), told the media:
The first seriousness has to do with the fact that, if the real cause of death is not stated, we, as funeral directors, could not take the precautions that we must (…) And obviously this is reflected in the official figures, because, if this precaution is not taken from the beginning and there are people who are in these places doing this type of thing, because this information will not reach the official figures
Likewise, García explained that the fact that a funeral manager, without being a doctor, having death certificates in your possession issued by Sedesa is illegal.
Political Animal also requested information from Ministry of Health of Mexico City, dependency which confirmed be aware of the presence of funeral "coyotes" outside the courts where death certificates are processed. Further, rejected the existence of a collision between officials and "managers" to facilitate the issuance of death certificate forms.
"Of course the problem is identified. To obtain the death certificate, It must be done by a doctor with a certificate. If he dies in hospital, the treating doctor does it there, but, if it is at home, the treating doctor must also do it, or a family doctor, which is not in all cases, and that is why they resort to those ‘managers’. But, if 911 is called, the Legal Department sends a doctor who provides the service at no cost, ”said the agency in a response sent to said medium.
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