Society

Case Of Abandoned Grandma In Argentina Raises Questions About Elder Care

Relatives of an 84-year-old said they left her at a clinic overnight after medics had refused to even look at a worsening leg infection. Who's responsibility is it?

photo of a woman pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair

Someone must take care of them

It's a case in Argentina that has shined a light on the burdens of elderly care on the poor, and the question of who holds ultimate responsibility: the family or the state.

An 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia was left at a private clinic in San Juan, in western Argentina last Saturday, with a note asking the facility to take her in. The letter, written by her stepdaughter, read, "it pains me, but I can't take care of Ursulina," without help from the PAMI, an Argentine social services agency.


Ursulina was found dehydrated, ill-fed and unable to speak, with an "anxious" temperament and skin lesions. The head of quality control at the Santa Clara clinic, Carlos Fiorentino, told Clarín daily she would be taken to a state facility for medical checks and to be housed.

When a hospital refuses a patient

Police soon found her family, who are not blood relatives. "I lost control of the situation," the step-granddaughter Abigail reportedly told PAMI officials. Marcio Meglioli, head of PAMI, said the granddaughter explained that Ursulina was not technically her grandmother, as she had not married her grandfather, but had helped raise his children and grandchildren over a lifetime.

It's the hospital that abandoned her.

The granddaughter told a local daily, Diario de Cuyo, that caring for Ursulina was costly and the state was not helping. But the final straw that led the family to leave her at the clinic was an infection in her lower back that smelled, suggesting a possible gangrene.

Initially, a hospital refused to see her, she said. "My mother and father took her by cab to a hospital. The nurse was telling us she was fine, to take her home, without even checking her. My mother was saying, 'can't you smell it?'.. she's rotting."

"it's the hospital that abandoned her," the granddaughter said. "Abandonment is keeping her at home and letting her rot to death."

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Geopolitics

In Sudan, A Surprise About-Face Marks Death Of The Revolution

Ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was the face of the "stolen revolution". The fact that he accepted, out of the blue, to return at the same position, albeit on different footing, opens the door to the final legitimization of the coup.

Sudanese protesters demonstrating against the military regime in London on Nov. 20, 2021

Nesrine Malik

A little over a month ago, a military coup in Sudan ended a military-civilian partnership established after the 2019 revolution that removed President Omar al-Bashir after almost 30 years in power. The army arrested the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and, along with several of his cabinet and other civil government officials, threw him in detention. In the weeks that followed, the Sudanese military and their partners in power, the Rapid Support Forces, moved quickly.

They reappointed a new government of “technocrats” (read “loyalists”), shut down internet services, and violently suppressed peaceful protests against the coup and its sabotaging of the 2019 revolution. During those weeks, Hamdok remained the symbol of the stolen revolution, betrayed by the military, detained illegally, unable to communicate with the people who demanded his return. In his figure, the moral authority of the counter-coup resided.

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