Born In a Blackout

With its health care system already in free-fall, a nationwide blackout in Venezuela has left hospitals—and their patients—in dire straits.

Since the outage began Thursday, at least 21 people have died in the country’s public hospitals, Reuters reports.

Hospitals’ backup generators, damaged or lacking fuel, have failed to perform. Newborns requiring special equipment like incubators—about 10% of the country’s daily births—are particularly at risk.

Crawford Kilian’s H5N1 blog tracks local sources covering the blackout. They report that an 86-year-old man died after falling in the dark and that 15 patients died for lack of dialysis. But officials blast reports of blackout related deaths are “false and tendentious.”

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