08/07/14 — A doctor in Michoacán that works for Mexico’s Institute of Social Security (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social, IMSS) was recently the victim of targeted violence and human rights violations. Doctor “M,” as she has been referred to in media reports for protection purposes, was abducted the night of Thursday, July 31 as she left a medical facility in Zamora, Michoacán where she works. The 30-year-old doctor, who survived , was kidnapped and held for six days, her whereabouts unknown until paramedics from Red Cross discovered her on August 6 after neighbors reported the case. During her time held captive, the abductors tortured, mutilated, and beat her, as well as drugged her with, at this point, unknown substances. Doctor “M” has since been taken to a private hospital for treatment and recovery.
Doctor “M” was allegedly the target of such violence because of her role in a patient’s care several weeks before. The three suspects involved in the kidnapping are presumed family and friends of a pregnant woman who went to the hospital where Doctor “M” works to receive medical attention. According to hospital staff, “The woman arrived at an advanced stage in her pregnancy, and the baby was already dead inside her womb. That happened [because] the mother waited too long to seek medical attention…” Yet, as El Universal reports, the patient’s family instead accused the hospital and staff of being negligent in their care, and thus responsible for the death of the child. It is not clear if Doctor “M” was the attending physician in the case, or what role she exactly played, but the family nevertheless threatened the hospital as a whole and swore revenge for killing the baby.
Authorities have not yet apprehended any suspects, but signs point in the direction of them being closely tied to the patient. Not only did the patient’s family threaten the hospital staff when the patient was in their care, but they also left a warning through their kidnapping, torture, and treatment of Doctor “M.” According to her colleagues, the kidnappers cut off two of Doctor “M’s” fingers, and made severe lacerations to her abdomen, which some speculate could have been to mimic the common operation known as a cesarean section (“c-section”) that pregnant mothers often undergo when in labor. They then forced Doctor “M” to write a warning on the wall of the patio where was being held to the other hospital staff, reading, “The other gynecologists that killed my son will follow.”
Doctor “M’s” kidnapping comes just months after several cases of medical negligence and malpractice were in the news in Oaxaca dealing with allegations of human rights abuses against several pregnant indigenous women. In April, for example, the government of Oaxaca publicly acknowledged its failure to provide necessary medical attention to a woman in labor, and for jeopardizing her right to health, life, physical integrity, and personal security. The apology was issued in response to a recommendation published by Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) in January 2014.