In public spanish TV, a physician from the El Escorial Hospital in Madrid has been interviewed about the corona situation. „Unfortunatly“, he did not give the „right“ answers. Instead, he slams the corona narrative of the spanish media and confronts it with the reality. Later in the interview, a second journalist comes to help his colleague and eventually freaks out and talks his head off. Here’s the complete TVE interview as a video with english subtitles and as an englisch transcript.
The video with the hospital doctor Dr. Louis de Benito from Madrid (Hospital El Escorial) is (still) available several times on Youtube. The interview with the television station Televisión Española 1 that is integrated here contains English subtitles and should be understandable for many people who don’t speak Spanish.
Here is the complete transcript of the english subtitles of this video:
TV woman: We’ve just heard–patients have been admitted to intensive care. We have invited Dr. Luis de Benito, hello!
Doctor, you know the situation very well. You’ve worked since the beginnig of the pandemic with patients affected by the coronavirus,You are actually at the Escorial Hospital, here in Madrid. Tell us, what is the situation like, exactly. It’s worrying, is ist not? Can you tell us about the total saturation level? Are there hospitals that are beginning to increase the number of Beds? Can you confirm any of this?
Doctor: Ah, no, I don’t believe so. I don’t know which hospitals you are talking about. It’s true we are seeing an increase in the number of admissions. But until last week, there were none. Yesterday we had three. Three people, and over one hundered beds, you understand?
So no, I don’t believe we are close to saturation levels. What’s more, the most crowdes hospital, The 12th of October… (TV woman cuts him off)
TV woman: So, The 12th of October is the hospital that cancelled all surgical interventions from it’s planning schedule and postponed less-urgent external consultations.
Doctor: Okay, yes. Yesterday, independent authorities published that there were 75 admissions–seventy-five admitted in a hospital with 1,300 beds.
TV woman: That’s right. And 540 infected!
Doctor: Are those sick or just positive cases? Because the data can deceive and confuse us. In the health centers, we administer only PCR tests, so we will find many positives. Furthermore, we are now hospitalising people tested in their vehicles. We classify these positive PCR tests as Covid-19, even though they are only people who have just been tested in their cars. So we are creating confusion by announcing, „Covid-19 cases are increasing!“ when in fact, it’s not true. There is an increase, but not for patients who have a pathology of Covid-19. A pathology of Covid-19 is what we saw in the spring when our hospitals were indeed crowded. But at present, we see an increase in cases that are the simple result of an increase in PCR testing. And having a positive PCR test does not necessarily mean that we are sick.
TV woman: Tell us, in your hospital, for example, what are you doing? Are you preparing fpr September or October? Have the health staff returned?
Doctor: Why would they return? They are on vacation like all our elected officials and government personel. There is no emergency. We are on alter, yes, but not in an emergency.
TV woman: Are there replacements? Replacement doctors or nurses?
Doctor: I have no idea what was planned. As for the rest, the decision to suspend consultations or surgerys affects the supply in the blood banks and personnel.
However, we haven’t yet seen the number of sick patients that we received in the spring.
TV woman: Okay, I repeat (like she was answering the button in her ear): 540 contagious admissions and 70 in intensive care, so that the numbers are clear. There is a book that you know of, I believe, entitled „Coronavirus: the Search for a Vaccine.“ (Doctor grins and holds the book up to the camera) I suppose you have been following the latest news on the vaccines arriving from Russia and Germany. Yesterday, all eyes were focused on it, but now it sems, the vaccine won’t be ready for the fall and that Pfizer’s vaccine appears to be more effective. What do you think?
Doctor: Well, of course, it’s always profitable to talk about a vaccine, especially after having inculcated the fear to believe it is necessary. Because we need to sell it. The question is whether we need the vaccine, is it safe and without danger, and is it effective? But first and foremost, it is necessary or not? If it’s true, that the contagion has already affected great mass of people, why is it necessary to vaccinate the whole population? The first thing we need to do is to vaccinate against fear because all of the social panic we have created. We doctors are perplexed by this.
TV woman: Your words are reassuring, but I need to insist, because in Spain we have, on average, one thousand positive tests per day.
Doctor: Look at the numbers of infections of Heliobacter pylori. It is present in 50% of the Spanish population.This bacteria is a type 1 carcinogenic agent as classified by the World Health Organization. Therefore, half of the population of Spain is at risk of stomach cancer. So, is that a grave situation? Is it an emergency? Does the media report it on the news? No. Because it’s not an emergency.
TV woman: As we are saying, the high numbers of personnel now on vacation in the major cities, we are expecting their return in September.What do you expect to happen? Are you still optimistic?
Doctor: For us doctors, or at least the ones I’ve been in contact with, some 200-300 doctors and nurses throughout the Spanish territory, we have understood: measures have been put in place to confine everyone in September by making them believe that they have behaved irresponsibly during summer. It’s an interesting strategy because it’s more profitable for people not to receive care in primary treatment centers. Strategically, it works, but we don’t believe it’s right or practical from a medical point of view. Of course , we do not expect another wave. It would have been nice in spring if the press had talked about overflowing hospitals because we were really overrun. We had to put patients in hotels because we had exceeded our capacity. In springtime we needed to talk about it.
Before there was a pandemic, you didn’t speak about it as you should have. Now that there is no pandemic, you talk about it all the time! Sincerely, I don’t understand. It seems like we have gone off-topic. (TV man: We’ve lost control, haven’t we?)
TV woman: Your intervention arouses controversity… My colleague, Javier Barosso, will join the discussion. He’s a journalis with us in the studio.
TV man: Doctor, I don’t know if I misunderstood you or if you didn’t explain yourself clearly. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because you said that we didn’t talk about the pandemic. Since March, April, May, June, and until now, are you calling the entire population idiots? Sorry, I have to be frank!
Doctor: I’m not calling anyone an idiot. (gets interrupted).
TV man: Excuse me? We’ve done nothing but talk about the numbers twenty four hours a day in the media!
Doctor: The analysis of the data was not correct.
TV man: See here, every media outlet treated the information as best they saw fit.
But to say that we never talked about the pandemic, what world where you in?
Doctor: I was in the hospitals, my friend. And you? In the studio?
TV man: No, I was in the streets. I saw deaths, and I saw sick people. And I tell you again, we talked about the pandemic!
Doctor: In the streets? Did you sign any death certificates?
TV man: Unfortunately, I didn’t have that chance.
TV woman: Well, we’ll leave it there. I think everyone had a chance to give their opinion. Dr. Benito, I thank you for being with us.