The Valencian health authority is guilty of insufficient protection of doctors

Spanish court orders compensation for many doctors for not adequately protecting them from the risk of infection

methcovid 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 Spain, infection, HEALTH
Members of the medical staff treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) positive patients at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Sotiria hospital, in Athens, Greece, November 12, 2021. Picture taken November 12, 2021. REUTERS / Giorgos Moutafis

A Spanish court has ordered a regional health authority to compensate many doctors for failing to adequately protect them from the risk of infection during the first and deadliest wave of its pandemic. Covid-19. Between March and May 2020, the Valencian Health Authority provided physicians treating patients with Covid-19 in Alicante only one face mask a week and forced them to reuse disposable protective equipment by early June, Judge Ricardo Barrio said.

The court, also in Alicante, ordered the authority to pay compensation of 5.000 to 49.180 euros to each of the 153 affected doctors, with those infected with the virus receiving higher amounts. It ruled that the authority's failure to provide personal protection exposed "all health workers to serious risks to their health and safety," according to a lawsuit. Victor Pedrera, general secretary of CESM-CV, a Valencia-based doctors' union involved in the case, said the number of doctors infected with the virus was particularly high in the region. The first wave of the new coronavirus in Spain was one of the deadliest in the world.

Within two months of March 15, 2020, nearly 28.000 deaths from the disease were recorded, according to Worldometer. CESM-CV sued the same health authority in four other cities - Castellόνn, Benidorm, Elche and Valencia - on behalf of about 1.000 other doctors, Pedrera said, predicting the union's case could be a milestone in Spain. "We were the pioneers," he said after today's court ruling.

"Many (other) groups of doctors and health workers will also sue, I estimate." The decision of the court of Alicante is subject to appeal. A similar court ruling in Teruel, neighboring Aragon, was upheld on appeal in September 2020, Judge Barrio said.