November 27, 2020

The Government recognizes the responsibility of the Administration in the death of Samba Martine at the CIE in Madrid

The Congolese Samba Martine died in 2011 with HIV after spending 39 days in confinement in the Center for the Internment of Foreigners (CIE) in Madrid, where she went to the medical consultation up to ten times, without having been subjected to any clinical test or transferred to the hospital until the day of his death. Although the medical analyzes carried out during her stay in a public center in Melilla had detected her infection, a key information for the diagnosis of the disease that ended her life, the document never reached the police units where the woman spent her last days afflicted with severe pain. Nine years later, the Government has recognized the responsibility of the Administration and the health services of the CIE in the death of Martine, for which it will compensate her family.

Justice acquits the only accused for the death of Samba Martine and points to the responsibility of the Administration

Justice acquits the only accused for the death of Samba Martine and points to the responsibility of the Administration

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The Ministry of the Presidency has responded favorably to the claim for patrimonial liability made eight years ago by the Samba Martine family, which will be compensated in equal parts by the Ministries of the Interior and Inclusion; and by the SERMEDES company, then in charge of the management of the medical services of the CIE de Aluche.

The resolution, to which has had access, concludes that the lack of coordination between the portfolios that depend on the different centers through which the deceased passed and the “malpractice” of the private medical service of the CIE in Madrid led to the poor health care received by the patient, who depended on the Administration to treat her ailments due to her deprivation of liberty.

Lack of coordination between Interior and Inclusion

Martine was admitted to the CIE in Aluche after being welcomed during her first months in Spain at the Center for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) in Melilla, then dependent on the Ministry of Labor. There, the woman underwent a medical examination that detected her HIV infection, but there is no record that the patient received the results of the tests. When the Congolese woman was referred to the CIE in Madrid, an Interior jurisdiction, the medical history did not reach the new center. Nor was the autonomous city requested from the eastern direction to send the health documentation.

For the Ministry of the Presidency, the lack of coordination between both institutions influenced the deficient medical care received by Martine at the CIE. “The protocol for the transmission of documentation so essential to Mrs. Martine’s health did not adequately guarantee that her medical situation was known at the Madrid CIE […] Although it cannot be affirmed that this circumstance would have prevented her death, it would have alerted the ICN doctors of the serious illness she suffered and would have undoubtedly provided better care for the patient, “the document maintains.” There is no doubt that such coordination is required between two bodies of the same Administration, “the resolution settles.

“The CETI, which was aware of the pathology suffered, had to ensure that the health information was effectively delivered to the person concerned or, at least, that said information reached the detention center in Madrid to which it was going to be transferred,” he says the Ministry of the Presidency in relation to the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor, whose competence in Migrations now falls on the Inclusion portfolio. For its part, the CIE, faced with Martine’s ailments, “had to claim the documentation when it observed that it lacked it,” he adds.

Poor medical care and lack of interpreters

Added to the institutional lack of coordination is the insufficient medical care provided to the patient by the SERMEDES company. “There was a deficient performance in the provision of the medical service since none of the doctors considered it convenient to carry out a clinical analysis to the interested party despite the numerous ailments she suffered,” the document reads.

In June 2019, the Criminal Court number 21 of Madrid acquitted the only defendant tried for the death of Samba Martine, but recognized that the failures detected in the care offered by other health workers in the center (who are fugitives from justice) and the “bureaucratic deficiencies” linked to his internment had “an important weight” in his death. During the month and a half that she remained locked up in the CIE, the Congolese requested health care on at least ten occasions, but none of them was referred to a hospital or subjected to clinical tests.

In this sense, the administrative resolution announced this Monday recognizes that “if a simple analysis had been carried out, it would have been known that she was a potentiator of HIV and the appropriate treatment would have been given.” The Ministry of the Presidency also stresses the importance of the lack of an interpreter during most of the medical consultations Martine attended: “She was unfamiliar with the Spanish language and, during her stay at the CIE, she was only assisted by an interpreter in one occasion of the ten times that he demanded medical assistance “.

The social entities that provided support to the Samba Martine family have valued “that the State has recognized its responsibility for all that it has to repair the Samba family and also to his memory.” The case of the Congolese woman has become a symbol of the deficient health care provided to the inmates of these centers, where foreigners in an irregular situation are locked up for their administrative situation with the aim of proceeding with their expulsion. The organizations hope that the resolution “serves to prevent cases like Samba in the future.” However, they recall that, nine years after his death, there is still no protocol that guarantees the correct derivation of medical information between the CIE and the CETI.


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