Adrián García from Facebook

The reality of pharmaceutical co-payment hit a 23 year old resident of the Valencia town of Llíria this week, when doctors removed a prosthesis, installed just days earlier, because neither the patient, nor his family, could afford to pay the 152 euro fee.

Having suffered a fall when he was 14, Adrián García has coped with the pain and discomfort that his debilitating condition brought, barely able to move, until Monday of last week when he woke up from an operation to install an external prosthesis that both straightened his leg, and would enable recuperation over time to heal the ails he had endured for years.

According to Adrián´s family, “It was a complicated operation and the doctor asked the advice of a French surgeon”.

Everything was looking positive, until hospital administrators presented the family with the bill. Struggling through the crisis, with a 1,200 euro monthly mortgage, according to María Dolores, Adrián´s mother, “I said I could not afford it. Do not have the money because, really, right now I cannot even afford to eat”.

Adrián himself asked if payment could be deferred, as has often been the reported case in a number of aesthetic dental procedures, such as denture provision, but this was refused on account of the company who supply the prosthetics requiring almost immediate payment for the items, as they too had been crippled by the huge debts put on them by the government, albeit not in the same physical way that the subsequent removal of the device has caused Adrián, after doctors returned to take the attachment and then place his leg in plaster.

The department of health has confirmed that the procedure was correct, and has assured the family that the case falls within the official protocol, as since 2010, only internal prostheses and stents are covered by Social Security benefits, all external prosthetics must be paid for by the patient at the time.

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