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How Cold Heart and Zeal for Rules at Pharmacy Killed Young Brazilian Mother

Viviane Barbosa Salvador, beautiful city, what happened to you? Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, December 14, 2007. Viviane Brito Barbosa was feeling very sick. She had asthma. She could not breath properly. With her stepfather she ran to the pharmacy to buy the little pump needed to facilitate the breathing during an asthma crisis.

It cost 22 Brazilian reais (a bit more than US$ 12). She had only 12 reais. Her stepfather in the rush to the pharmacy had forgotten the wallet. There were 10 reais (US$ 6) missing.

Viviane, 29-years-old, mother of two kids, student of pedagogy was getting worse and worse. Her stepfather, totally desperate, offered to leave the documents of his car to prove he was getting back to the pharmacy to pay the 10 reais missing. It was so little money.

Sorry we cannot do that, this is not the procedure. You have to pay the difference. Viviane's lips became very red. She was undergoing a violent and devastating crisis. The salesmen at the pharmacy could see she was not kidding. She was dying. But they did nothing.

Healthline defines asthma attack this way: "When they occur the muscles surrounding the airways become tight and the lining of the air passages swell. This reduces the amount of air that can pass by, and can lead to wheezing sounds. Asthma attacks can last minutes to days and can become dangerous if the airflow becomes severely restricted."

It is a terrible way of dying and terrible thing to watch too.

Viviane's stepfather took her to the closest municipal health post. She did not make it. She died while getting there. Her heart stopped beating on the way to the health center.

Any comment is useless. Viviane is dead. The pharmacy replaced its employees with some others.

Just a few questions come to our minds: what happened to today's humans to get to this point? A woman is dying in front of our eyes, for such a ridiculous amount of money, and still we are there watching but we stick to the rules, sorry there is an amount missing, small but still missing.

Is this today's world? A world in which only money and rules account, where a life is not worth not even US$ 6? Have we lost any human feeling, how did we become like that?

Max Bono is a journalist travelling in Brazil. You can contact him at researchinrio@yahoo.com.

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  • Show Comments (10)

  • bo

    [quote]People in NYK have died in the hospital emergency room waiting or no insurance. [/quote]

    You’re right…but if someone is having an asthma attack and it’s known that all she needs is an albuterol inhaler (I have asthma as well and use an inhaler), and someone at a pharmacy stands by and watches as she suffocates to death….I just don’t know what to say. I would venture to say that you would NEVER see that happen in the U.S…..or as I stated previously, in any country where there are not severe problems in education.

    And to MARITA….what babbling. It’s easy to be productive when you give up your culture, language?? What the hell does that mean? LOL!

    So if a people give up their culture and language it makes it easier for them to be more productive? Is this why Salvador is such an unproductive place? Is it the “culture” in Salvador to stay on the beach all day everyday, drinking beer and eating acarajÀƒ©?

    Some of you chest thumpers make me laugh. You seriously can’t take any type of constructive criticism. You think all criticism is bad criticism. You simply just “don’t wanna hear it”. Well…..down the rabbit hole it is Alice.

  • Dom Vivona

    Hi Marita fron Salvador! I am looking to get more information about Salvador. I am really curious about knowing more about the city and if its a viable place for an American. Can I email you?

  • Lloyd Cata

    Beating the Messenger
    [b][i]Ch.c.
    – Mr. Bono’s writing style barely qualifies as English -[/i][/b]

    Low points for style, but we did get the point. Forgetting your wallet can be deadly, and not only in Brazil. People in NYK have died in the hospital emergency room waiting or no insurance.

    It is a story simply to highlight commerce over caring. I’m sure the store employees felt they would be fired for ‘giving’ the medicine without payment – ‘store policy’. We all know the Christian thing to do, don’t we?

  • João da Silva

    [quote]And, of course, Mr. Bono’s writing style barely qualifies as English.[/quote]

    Mr.Bono must be a Swiss.May be Ch.c could give him some lessons to qualify him as an English writer. Ch.c likes such challenging assignments 😉

  • MARITA

    CAIAM NA REAL
    SALVADOR IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE, NO MATTER WHAT…
    EVEN IN THE US, THEY LET YOU DIE IF YOU DON’T PAY (ASSUMING YOU DON”T HAVE THE HEALTH INSURANCE, LIKE 40 % OF US CITIZENS). TRY MICHAEL MOORE FOR US FACTS. AT LEAST, WE DON’T ADVERTISE OURSELVES AS THE ”BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CAUSE WE KNOW WE AIN’T THE ”BEST” COUNTRY, SUPERPOWER, CONDOLEEZA’S FARM…
    IN SOME THINGS, WE’RE SIMILAR TO HAWAII BUT WE ARE INDEPENDENT. IT’S EASY TO BE PRODUCTIVE WHEN YOU GIVE UP YOUR LANGUAGE, YOUR CULTURE. SEJA COMO FOR, PREFIRO MEU SALVADOR…THERE ARE MANY POOR AND UNDEDUCATED PEOPLE IN THE US, AND NOT ONLY ON THE OPRAH OR JERRY SPRINGER SHOW…NOTHING’S PERFECT.

  • ch.c.

    ” how back in the USA people will work and sacrifice for years to be able to live in a paradise like Salvador. ”
    Just ask to Salavador people if they think they live in paradise.
    Sure, with money it will help. And the more you have money the more it will be paradise….in a lower cost of living country having more sun. But to my knowledge most americans with some money, prefer to go to the sun states of America…..not to Brazil !

    Ohhhhh….and those with real lot of money ? No problem, some areas in California and Florida have as much sun as in Brazil….to my knowledge. Ohhhhh and the French Riviera, Barbados are also a paradise for the more wealthy.

    And for the Ultra wealthy ? No problem : Monaco is a good place to be. Switzerland too !
    In my country we even transformed SNOW into White Gold ! And the rest of the world…..with snow….such as Aspen in the USA, France, Austria, Italy are copying us, proving it is a winning formula.
    Even the most wealthy arabs enjoying sun in their country….LOVE SWISS SNOW !!!! So much that most Ultra wealthy people of the world have small cabanas in my country.
    Ohh by small cabanas I mean several miilions US$, the nice ones start at Us$ 10 millions and the fancy ones of the arabs are at US$ 20 millions PLUS….with small land parcels….of course ! Why have a 3 acres land with SNOW ? Laugh !
    In Monaco, the price per square meter for an appartment is MINIMUM of US$ 30’000.- and up to US$ 70’000.- !
    You read well, there is no error or typing mistake.

    Thus you see, paradise is where you feel the best depending of your income and savings. Some prefer other countries because it is cheaper thus they can leverage their buying power, and others not in need to leverage their buying power to have the feel to be in paradise prefer…..TRUE PARADISES WITH OR WITHOUT SNOW AND OR SUN !!!!! In true paradise…there is no question of money…for the few who can afford….of course !
    And for those who cant afford……their dream is to go out of their fucking paradise…and enter illegally even by paying smugglers…to enter to Hell !!!!!

    Where is Paradise and where is Hell ? Welll…it all depends of many factors….but the first is BUYING POWER, the second is SAFETY and others are good healthcare and good infrastructure. And the last is…..climate as you like it !

    😀 😉 😀 😉 😉

  • The Man

    And…
    Of course, I should have mentioned above: If you were there, as your first-person writing seems to indicate, why did you not step in and pay R$12 to save this person’s life?

  • The Man

    Did you witness this???
    This is a terrible story. I was familiar with it before reading this report. I live in Salvador and this story has been prominent in the the local press and on television.

    However, the writer of the article makes it sound as if he were there, which I very much doubt. For example, he says: “It is a terrible way of dying and terrible thing to watch too.” Was he there to watch? I suspect not.

    Before people crib articles from the local press, and reformulate them in extremely poor English, they should think about giving credit to the original source. Or they should at least not have the audacity to pretend they were witness to a tragedy, when they were not.

    This isn’t to take away from the fact that this is a terrible story. It’s just to say that rehashing something from press reports in another language does not make someone an English-language “journalist.”

    And, of course, Mr. Bono’s writing style barely qualifies as English.

  • Dom Vivona

    I live in Connecticut USA (not far from New York City) and often think about my 2 week vacation in Salvador Brazil last winter. In short, I loved the weather there and would even comment to my wife how back in the USA people will work and sacrifice for years to be able to live in a paradise like Salvador. I was envious of Brazilians who, unlike back home with our cold winters, can enjoy a warm summer night walk to the local pizzeria or hot dog vendor. How naive I was. So much wasted opportunity and talent in Brazil. In America the rich love helping the poor have enough of money to buy the goods they sell. The rich in America see the lower classes as the means to them making money. In Brazil, I don’t think they see it that way. This morning my thoughts are with Viviane, her two children and her extended family and friends who are a bit colder in the sunny state of Bahia.

  • bo

    And that’s called…
    [b]IGNORANCE![/b]

    Seriously, I simply can’t imagine this situation happening in a country that doesn’t have severe problems with education….and Salvador, well there ya go.

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