The 2016 Rio Olympics are underway and already there are stories of heroism, like a Syrian refugee performing well in a swimming competition, balanced out by dreams being dashed through a gymnast’s horrible leg break. There’s also the ridiculous, like a man chasing cyclists around shouting. But at least one of these scenarios saw an Olympic athlete in need of immediate treatment and the facility that he would be receiving treatment at is Americas Medical City.
Time did a profile on the medical facility, which will be serving all of the Olympic athletes exclusively, where they are preparing for everything from fractures like we saw earlier to a possible Zika virus outbreak or even a possible terrorist attack. The relatively new hospital, which opened in 2014 and was designated as the official Olympic hospital a year later, will be prepared for anything and everything while the world’s eyes are on Rio for the Olympics.
Interestingly enough, it seems like a stark contrast to the rest of the area’s hospitals and medical care. CNN recently ran a piece looking at the surrounding hospitals — as well as Americas Medical City — finding it to be a night and day situation according to Nelson Nahon of Rio’s regional Council for Medicine:
Most disturbing is the site of a body bag lying in a bed next to other patients, waiting to be removed.
“This is a completely absurd situation, where a patient died and they put him inside this black bag next to others,” says Nahon. “Normal procedure would be to take the deceased patient outside and then put him in the black bag and then forward him to wherever he should go…
“Every day in Rio, we lack about 150 beds for emergency care,” he says. “Intensive care is the same. They might even die in that period because they need intensive treatment and in the semi-intensive rooms they have, people who are supposed to stay there for 24 hours — they stay for 15 days.”
So while Americas Medical City is stocked full of everything that it needs, taking cues and help from hospitals in the United States, the rest of Rio de Janeiro’s hospitals — where the rest of Rio’s citizens will need to go — seem to be understaffed and unprepared, which speaks to the bigger issues that many have been raising about these Olympic games. When CNN spoke with Lt. Col. Carlos Sima about their concerns, he was quick to respond:
“A terrorist attack. We don’t have history with that. We are used to big accidents and the like, but because we don’t have a history with terror, that would be of real concern.”
That is definitely grounds for concern.