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Carlos Mur, the senior Madrid official who signed the protocol preventing elderly patients from being hospitalized in residences, told a judge this Thursday that the documents had the approval of Health Minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero. The former Director General of Health Coordination, who has appeared as a witness in the Plaza de Castilla courts, has declared that these documents were created to support the health workers who made hospitalization decisions, but Also said he did not believe they were mandatory. His statement contradicts the version given minutes earlier by another witness, former Minister of Social Policies, Alberto Reyrero, who has declared that they were binding resulting in thousands of deaths.

It is the first time that political officials in Spain have appeared before a judge for deaths without health care at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and now the question is whether the judge, the head of investigative court No. Mur’s will be called. That is the claim of the families’ lawyer, Carlos Villa, who follows a ladder strategy, by which he hopes to continue climbing the scale of responsibility until he reaches Escudero and President Isabel Díaz Ayuso.

Moore has declined to give a statement to this newspaper after settling out of the courts, alleging that the state investigation is still ongoing. Family attorney Carlos Villa asked about Escudero’s role during the hearing. “He was my superior and of course he knew (los protocolos),” Moore said, according to what the lawyer said at the end of the hearing. According to Villa, Moore believed that the community did not follow the other side of protocol, the medicalization of the residences. He has reported that he was not fully medicalized, despite receiving some oxygen therapy, and has acknowledged that consultations did not permit transfer to Ifima Field Hospital, where lighter patients were given priority.

According to Villa, “Murr has said that he was an ordinary director general without command in the square and that major decisions were made by counselors.” After the hearing, the lawyer is hopeful. “The judge wants to find out if there is a causal link between the protocol and the deaths and has called for a report from a coroner,” Villa said.

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If the judge summons Escudero, he must forward the statement to higher judicial authorities. As a director, Escudero is registered before the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid. And since Ayuso has already announced that he will nominate him as senator after the election, he will be registered before the Supreme Court.

The expected deposition as witnesses from Moore and Reyero, which the press did not have access to, takes place in one of dozens of cases being prosecuted for events that took place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Madrid. So far, judges who have inquired into the facts have archived the inquiry or confined themselves to summoning doctors or directors of residences. The case, being investigated by Zamarigo, is related to three deaths in Domasavi Albufeira, a 143-bed home in Vallecas that relied on the Infanta Leonor hospital. He died on 30 March, 7 and 8 April. During the first wave, 37 people living in that center died, 22 of whom did so in residence.


According to the villas and families, the doctors working in the residences and the hospital confined themselves to following the protocol. For this reason they believe that the responsibility for what happened lies with the politicians who made the decisions. In this regard, Reyero has told this newspaper in the corridors of the court that he believes Murr is a “scapegoat”. Murr, who today holds a managerial position in public health in Andorra, was general director of the Social-Health Coordination of the Madrid Ministry of Health. Thus, he relied on Councilor Escudero who, in view of the collapse of the hospital, decreed that the elderly would not be treated in hospitals on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

As EL PAÍS reported, the next day Mur assembled a group of geriatricians from public hospitals, who were going to act as a filter to decide who had the right to a bed and who did not. . To give legal certainty to geriatricians, they decided to draw up a document that would authorize them to refuse admission. The Community of Madrid disseminated four versions of a protocol to public hospitals and nursing homes on March 18, 20, 24 and 25, 2020, authorizing hospital geriatricians to refuse transfers of elderly patients living in group homes does.

Alberto Reyero on his arrival at the Plaza de Castilla court this Thursday.
Alberto Reyero on his arrival at the Plaza de Castilla court this Thursday.Santi Burgos

Murr is accompanied by three people this Thursday, one of them being Alberto Lahoz, who Murr recruited on March 24 to help with the difficult task of saving lives in homes. She is joined by Reyrero, the lawyer Villa and Carmen Mikel, a lawyer from Amnesty International, an organization that has condemned the deaths due to abandonment. At first, Reyero spoke for about an hour, in what he later said was an emphasis on what he described in several interviews and in his book. They will die dishonored. “I have said as always. That the protocol should be understood in the context of lack of medicalization and non-referral of Ephima and private hospitals.

Reyrero was not called upon by Escudero to make major decisions, despite being the councilor on whom the residences depended. On 21 March, when he learned that his government partner had prepared the triage, he wrote an email alerting them to the possible illegality of those documents. Later, she publicly broke with him after criticizing him for not doing enough to treat nursing homes.

“The judge asked me if I thought they were binding and I said yes, but the legal merit does not suit me. It is a matter of discussion, but I think given his influence”, Reyero said. When he left the room, Reyero and Mur said goodbye, shaking hands. “When everything is done we’ll see each other,” Moore told her.

The former director general testified for 50 minutes, answering questions from the judge, Villa and Domusavi’s attorney. No prosecutor has appeared, despite the fact that the Prosecutor General’s Office issued an official letter on October 6 last year asking prosecutors to attend the statements of families and relevant witnesses. The lack of interest from the prosecutor’s office has been condemned by Amnesty International, among others. “We hope that this means progress in truth and justice for the victims, but we regret that the Prosecutor’s Office did not appear today at this statement of persons related to the case, which follows instructions and official letters from the General Prosecutor’s Office. is the opposite of. ,” They said. Carmen Mikel said.

Mur has already testified in the Madrid Legislature on the extradition commission of inquiry, which was closed when Ayuso pushed the election to May 2021. Then he already stated that he was following Escudero’s instructions and that he first presented a draft protocol. to his superiors in a meeting chaired by the Health Minister on Sunday, the 15th March, 2020. Triage in Madrid was supposed to accompany the “medicalization” of the residences, but the reality is that the community eventually sent these health workers to the Ifima Field Hospital, where the transfer of these elderly people was not authorized, because the Ministry of Health decided made sure that only low-risk patients were cared for there. In the first wave of the pandemic, between 8 March and 7 July that year, 11,389 older people died out of some 52,000 people living in Madrid, according to an analysis published by EL PAÍS. Of these, 8,338 (73%) were not transferred to hospital.

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