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Daily News - Friday, 10 October 2014

Negligence, lack of management behind hospital deaths
The government commission that investigated the 11 deaths over the weekend of 4-5 October 2014 at Santo Domingo's Robert Reid Cabral Children's Hospital, the country's largest pediatric hospital, has found that medical negligence and management were the main causes of the deaths.

In a press conference held yesterday, Thursday 9 October 2014, the commission recommended that the Ministry of Public Health penalize those found at fault.

The comments were made after the commission delivered a report on their findings to the President.

One of the deaths was caused by a failure to proceed with timely diagnosis and management since the patient was admitted from a private clinic, while four deaths were attributed to bacterial infections caught at the hospital.

In four cases there was deficiency in the medical care, where the only treatment provided was by an intern in training at the hospital who missed the diagnosis. Two of the cases were attributed to deficiencies in patient management due to the oxygen system failure.

The 11 deaths during one weekend was not exceptional, as records show that the rate has fluctuated between 7-12 cases at the public hospital over several recent weeks. The Robert Reid Cabral Hospital receives referrals of the most complicated cases from public and private medical centers.

A spokesperson for the medical staff blamed the problem on long-standing deficiencies. "Responsibility lies with the health system, not with us," said Maritza Lopez. She pointed out that the shortages at the hospital have been widely publicized and they had been calling for more resources for several months. "We did not want this to happen, but it did and it is especially unfortunate because we have been warning about the deficiencies and that no solutions were being found," she said.

On 5 September 2014, the press had reported the suspending of elective surgery at the hospital for equipment problems.

Statistics from the hospital show that 6.4% of all children hospitalized there, 89,964 from January 2006 to November 2012, or 5,766 children had died. Most of the children died within the hour of having arrived to the emergency room of the hospital, as reported in Diario Libre.

Meanwhile, Dominican Medical Association (CMD) president Dr. Pedro Sing called for more resources and the start of the primary care model. Sing says this would decongest the hospitals, enabling resources to be focused on the more complicated cases.



Tax revenues up 15% so far this year
The Tax Agency (DGII) has announced that it collected RD$237.43 billion from January to September, which is RD$31.04 billion more than for the same period last year, or 15% more revenue. This is 98% of the budgeted revenue for the organization. In September the DGII collected RD$22.35 billion, which is RD$1.30 billion more than in September 2013, or 6.2% more.


Baseball teams to fully manage ballparks
The Ministry of Sports says that baseball teams and ballpark boards will now be responsible for paying the stadiums' electricity bills all year long. The Dominican Winter Professional Baseball League championship opens on 16 October 2014 at stadiums nationwide. Minister of Sports Jaime David Fernandez announced the cancellation of the Ministry of Sports contracts for power at the ballparks.

The measure affects the Estadio Cibao (Santiago), Estadio Julian Javier (San Francisco de Macoris), Estadio Tetelo Vargas (San Pedro de Macoris) and the Estadio Quisqueya (Santo Domingo). The Estadio Francisco Micheli in La Romana is excluded because it has been privately operated by the Central Romana since its construction.

The Minister said that up to now the professional baseball teams only covered the power bills for the three month duration of the baseball season, despite the fact that they run their offices at the ballparks all year long. He said that the decision follows the handover of the ballparks' administration to the professional baseball teams. They will be able to lease the use of the ballparks for other events.

Minister Fernandez said that the baseball teams would also operate football franchises and games at the ballparks, so they would be in use all year round.

What's the government's stake in La Tabacalera worth?
A report in Diario Libre estimates that the government worth in 49.5% of the shares of the La Tabacalera tobacco company is RD$377.3 million. The Medina administration recently announced the government is preparing for their sale. British American Tobacco is expected to be a leading bidder.

Diario Libre report observes that financial statements audited through 2011 show that La Tabacalera's value on the books was RD$841.2 million and RD$762.2 million after subtracting liabilities. Nevertheless, the numbers show a decline in company worth compared to 2010, when the total assets were RD$1,032.6 million and RD$816.2 million in net assets.


Army arrests more smuggled Haitians
The Army has announced the arrest of 48 undocumented Haitians, including several pregnant women who were traveling on a minibus to Santiago. The 36 men and 12 women were taken to the Fortaleza Fernando Valerio in Santiago. The driver and his assistant were arrested for transporting illegal immigrants and will be tried for people smuggling. The women said they had traveled to the DR to give birth so that their children would be declared as Dominicans.

Recently the army has been announcing arrests for people smuggling from Haiti.


Diario Libre survives legal assault
Diario Libre was the target of one of the embargoes-assaults that show that things are wrong with the judiciary. The newspaper reported that a mob that included armed individuals showed up at the newspaper's main offices on Abraham Lincoln Avenue in Santo Domingo demanding cash payment or they would seize company assets in lieu of the RD$500,0000 amount claimed. Diario Libre lawyers said that the company had not been duely notified of the Supreme Court of Justice judgment dated 7 October 2014 they were using for the action.

Diario Libre lawyers say that they will take the case to the Constitutional Court, arguing that freedom of speech is a fundamental right. The case originated when Diario Libre published an advertisement by the Fundacion Testimonio Inc. announcing the expulsion of Raul Perez Pena (Bacho) from the organization. Perez sued on the grounds that the publication had caused him damages.

Idelisse Bonelly lifetime work honored by Brugal Foundation
The Fundacion Dominicana de Estudios Marinos (Fundemar) has won the Grand Prize of the Brugal Believes in Its People 2014 and the award in the category of environmental protection and defense. The center carries out research to conserve marine resources. The award is a grant of RD$2.5 million. Idelisse Bonelly de Calventi received the award on behalf of the foundation. Fundemar is best known for their work in defense of dolphins and whales.

Other RD$1 million awards went to Fundacion Pediatrica por un Manana in health, Oratorio Centro Juvenil Don Bosco of Jarabacoa for social assistance, and Fundacion de Corazon a Corazon for community development.

The Dream Project in Puerto Plata won the award in the education category.

The awards were presented by Fundacion Brugal president Franklin Baez Brugal. A special honor was presented to Mery Perez de Marranzini for her years at the helm of the Instituto Dominicano de Rehabilitacion, the country's main disability rehabilitation center.


Dominicans stores invite to deck the halls for Christmas
Christmas starts early in the Dominican Republic. Since the beginning of October, major stores have been reminding Dominican consumers to put up their decorations, so they can last all through the beginning of January. Cuesta, La Sirena and Plaza Lama are among the big stores that present a wide choice of options for Christmas decorations.

China needed five sets to beat DR
It took China five sets to defeat the rolling Dominican national volleyball team in the round of six of the FIVB World Championship in Milan, Italy. China, seeded 5th, had to use all its world experience to defeat the Dominican Republic national women's volleyball team 3-2 in Italy, on Thursday 9 October 2014.

The Dominican team won the first two sets 22-25, 23-25. The other two were gigantic matches, ending 25-23 and 25-23 in favor of China, with the fourth deciding match going 15-12.

Following that game, the team star player, Bethania De La Cruz, became the top scorer of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships. She scored 39 points against China and with a total of 233 has surpassed the 229 of Azerbaijan's Polina Rahimova, who has since departed the competition. In relative numbers, Rahimova still has an edge at 25.44 per match, while De La Cruz is at 23.30

The game was the Dominican Republic's seventh tie-break in ten matches at the World Championships.


Nicole Santiago Quartet at Dominican Sunset Jazz
The Nicole Santiago Quartet is booked for the Dominican Sunset Jazz evening at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel rooftop nightclub on Friday, 10 October 2014. She will be performing pop, bossa nova and more. Her music is contemporary Brazilian tunes, chill out and soul. She sings the music of Vanessa da Mata, Bebel Gilberto and Maria Rita. She is accompanied by Gioel Martin on guitar, Andy Villalona on drums and Anthony Marte on bass. 8:30pm. Free admission. Av. Anacaona 101, Santo Domingo. Reservations recommended at Tel 809 562-8222.

For history buffs: Dominican History Book fair 6-12 October 2014
This is your chance to purchase books and increase your knowledge of Dominican history.

The General Archives of the Nation (AGN) has announced a Dominican History Book Fair for 6-12 October 2014 from 8:30am to 9pm. Some 2,000 history-related books will be on display.

The AGN says that over the past 10 years around 2,200 books on historic topics sponsored by several institutions have been published. The AGN has also published 214 works since 2005, when historian Roberto Cassa took over the leadership of the influential institution.

Cassa says that the fair seeks to encourage students, historians, researches, specialists and the general public to become aware of these publications that are an essential complement to the work of preservation and dissemination of Dominican historical memory. The fair also seeks to contribute to strengthening the national identity and will be a space for Dominicans to encounter their past.

The Fair will take place at the General Archives of the Nation, located at Calle Modesto Diaz 2 in the Zona Universitaria, Santo Domingo.

"In the Heights", the musical at Bellas Artes
"In the Heights" the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical on Dominicans in New York City, will be staged at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo from Thursday 7 November 2014 to Sunday 16 November 2014. This is an Amaury Sanchez production. Tickets are RD$1,600-RD$1,100 and are for sale at La Sirena and the Bellas Artes box office. Starring Jaier Grullon, Laura Lebron, Checho Lora, Dolly Garcia, Hector Anibal, Diana Pou, Ian Castillo, Sonia Alfonso, Diomaris La Mala, Karla Fatulle, JJ Sanchez and Alejandro Moscoso. Directed by Waddys Jaquez, choreography by Isadora Bruno. Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the book by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes.

"In the Heights" tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood n a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. The musical won the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.


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