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How to detect a fake doctor or usurp functions?

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There are more than 65 legal proceedings for usurpation of functions and associated with medical malpractice, according to the president of the National Academy of Medicine, Enrique López Loyo.

Alleged gynecologists, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, neurologists and dentists have been detained by authorities in recent months because practiced medicine in several Venezuelan states with false titles or usurped functions of these specialtiesa situation that directly threatens the health of patients who, hopeful, come to them looking for a solution to their ailments.

In the Public Ministry, until now, there are 65 procedures for this type of irregular practices or associated with malpractice, according to what he told the whistle Enrique López Loyo, pathologist and president of the National Academy of Medicine (ANM).


People who fall into the hands of fake doctors endanger their lives

Enrique López Loyo, National Academy of Medicine


Venezuela has the Law on the Practice of Medicine, which is responsible for regulating “preventive-curative medical care for the population by medical professionals, through actions aimed at promoting health, preventing diseases and reducing risk factors”. risk, early diagnosis, timely treatment, restitution of health and physical or psycho-social rehabilitation of individuals and the community”.

The cases reported by the media barely represent the tip of the iceberg of a problem that, according to medical authorities, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What requirements must a medical graduate meet to practice?

The legal regulation establishes in its article 4 that in order to exercise any medical exercise, one must:

-Possess the title of Doctor of Medical Sciences, Medical Surgeon, Medical Surgeon, Comprehensive Community Physician or Comprehensive Community Physician, issued by a Venezuelan university in accordance with the laws that govern the matter.

-Register the corresponding title in a Principal Registry, in accordance with the law.

-Be registered in the College of Physicians or another medical-union organization.

– Comply with the other provisions contained for this purpose in this law.

López Loyo explained that in addition to these requirements, the person who wishes to carry out this profession in the country must dedicate himself for at least one year as a rural doctor or have completed a rotating internship in populations of less than 5,000 inhabitants.

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He stressed that people who fall into the hands of fake doctors endanger their lives by receiving therapy (surgical or medical) not in accordance with the needs of the pathology present at a given moment, “since this person does not have the academic or training capacities to be able to give him an effective response”.

The pathologist ruled that these actions are typified as crimes, and for this reason the authorities announced a high number of arrests in recent weeks.

The former Minister of Health and member of the Red Defendamos la Epidemiología, José Félix Oletta, considers that in order to minimize this practice, it is necessary that the bodies in charge of accreditation and certification of degrees, such as the Medical Federation and the Medical Associations, effectively carry out the corresponding validations to “guarantee the exercise of the profession and ensure that people will achieve a social good, which is medical care.”

Oletta recalled the provisions of article 134 of the Law of Medicine, which states that the person who “without being a doctor announces himself as such or attributes that character will be punished with a sentence of six (6) months to two (2) years from prison The prosecution will be ex officio and before the ordinary criminal jurisdiction.


As a result of the pandemic (due to COVID-19), groups of doctors or people who claimed to be doctors went to houses to place supposed therapy

Enrique López Loyo, National Academy of Medicine


The owner of a clinic in downtown Caracas, who preferred anonymity, assured the whistle that one of the elements that is usually validated when hiring a specialist are: the original documents (university degree, records with the Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians or of the corresponding profession), as well as the impression of the patients about the doctor.

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For her part, the merchant Adriana Jaimes indicated that when visiting a specialist she usually consults which medical institutions endorse them. “I check if it is a health insurance, a clinic or an outpatient clinic because I feel that an institute would take better care of its back and would ask all the information from the doctors.”

How to identify a fake doctor?

The president of the ANM explained that some of the essential elements to determine that a specialist is false or usurps functions are:

-The doctor with a clean, clear and honest professional practice has a well-established work niche with a well-established practice and fixed office hours. It can be consulted in this space whenever the patient wishes. “They are not itinerant people,” said López Loyo.

– Authorized health professionals must issue medical prescriptions duly identified with the following information:

*ID number, which can be verified by the registration system of the National Electoral Council (CNE), to validate that the data is the same.

*Health registration with the Ministry of Health, which, until four years ago, could be verified electronically.

*Registration of the respective Medical College or medical Impress.

All these elements must be contained in a stamp that is accompanied by the signature of specialists.

When to turn on the alarms?

– We must be suspicious of specialists who, when consulted, have doubts or are not clear in the definition of concepts.

– The applied therapies do not work or do not have the capacity to generate a response, be it with medications or surgical interventions.

Likewise, López Loyo added that the Law of Medicine establishes that patients have the right to request the credentials of the doctor who is going to treat them or to recommend a treatment. “This must be subject to the faithful compliance that that person must do.”

He recognized that the possibility of detecting a fake doctor goes through the “trial and error experiences that these individuals who call themselves medical professionals commit on their patients.” That is to say, those people who do not recover their health, and therefore attend consultations with the same misnamed specialist who cannot find a solution to their problem because they lack the knowledge.

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The pathologist considers that one of the possible causes for the exponential increase in these cases was the COVID-19 pandemic, a scenario that favored home health care and that led people who were around the medical world, as assistants or who they collaborated on an outpatient basis, to explore these situations that they had no control over.


The Academy of Medicine has detected doctors already graduated who began to intrude

Enrique López Loyo, National Academy of Medicine


“As a result of the pandemic, groups of doctors or people who claimed to be doctors went to homes to place supposed therapies,” said López Loyo, who added that it all started with the rental of respirators, followed by therapists in the respiratory area (assistant to patients with pulmonary problems associated with COVID-19), then cardiovascular therapists or physiatrists in the recovery area, among others.

He warned that even today, the Academy of Medicine has detected doctors already graduated who began to do intrusiveness (exercise of professional activities by a person not authorized to do so), without having the capacity to practice in areas of specialties in which they are not prepared. , which ends in malpractice.

Finally, López Loyo recommended that patients be vigilant and file an early complaint so that individuals who engage in any of these practices are identified. While the “Public Ministry (MP) and the Medical Associations must assume the defense of the patient and be attentive to these facts so that they are prosecuted”, he pointed out.


It is necessary that the bodies in charge of the accreditation and certification of degrees carry out the corresponding validations

José Félix Oletta, former Minister of Health and member of the Red Defendamos la Epidemiología


Katherine DonaVista_1

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