Spain’s public prosecutor announced Thursday that she is investigating more than 200 cases of criminal mishandling of coronavirus in nursing homes.
Attorney General Dolores Delgado began an investigation in March to gather information on “the existence of elderly people, some of them sick, living in extreme situations and poor sanitation conditions, as well as deceased residents,” which was brought to the public prosecutor’s attention by a journalistic publication backed by the country’s Ministry of Defense.
In December, Spain’s Supreme Court also ordered lower courts to investigate the relationship between the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 health crisis and the conditions in nursing homes.
In order to learn more about the crisis, the Public Prosecutor began pre-trial proceedings to monitor the residences, “especially those with the highest number of infections and deaths, in order to promote the adoption of the appropriate measures by the competent administrations.”
The Prosecutor of the Coordinating Chamber for the Protection of People with Disabilities and the Elderly listed the following issues commonly found in nursing homes: increased frailty of residents; weaknesses within the training, working conditions, and finance of nursing homes; and negative physical and psychological impacts of isolation and confinement of residents. Some of the reasons for investigating criminal mishandling include health care deficiencies, reckless killings, and poor residential situations.
In light of continued criminal proceedings, Attorney General Delgado “stressed that for the Attorney General’s Office it is an absolute priority to ensure the welfare and rights of the most vulnerable people in our society.”