A 44-year-old woman from the Andalucian province of Sevilla has paid for a billboard to highlight the agonising delays in her back operation
As you enter Sevilla by car from Aljarafe, you can see a huge billboard with a woman dressed as a bullfighter. Her name is Estrella Pichardo, and she has paid for the ad out of pocket to announce her serious back ailment that was diagnosed a year ago, and for which she awaits an operation in the Andalucian public health system while suffering severe pain.
“It was like being hit in the back with a baseball bat.” This is how Pichardo describes the pain she suffered in February 2022, when a vertebra in her spine broke.
An x-ray was carried out at the health center of the Sevilla municipality of Coria del Río. From there she was sent urgently to the Virgen del Rocío hospital, in the Andalucian capital, with a diagnosis of broken spinal vertebrae.
However, the hospital did not agree with the diagnosis, and, after a few hours in the emergency room, they sent her home with painkillers. “I never had to come from Virgen del Rocío, I should have demanded that they admit me,” she says, while revealing the MRI that shows her ailment and at the same time the boxes of morphine that she needs, “increasingly”, taken simply not to die of pain.
A resident of the neighbouring Sevillian town of Almensilla, Pichardo appears this week in a huge billboard that can be seen in the vicinity of the Sevilla fairgrounds. She appears dressed in a bullfighter costume, demanding that Social Security operate on her for a broken vertebrae “that has taken her life at only 44 years of age.” “It’s not against anyone, I don’t blame anyone, I just want to be cured, to have my life back,” she says.
The rental of the billboard cost her 500 euros for the month of January, and the design of the advertisement was done for free by some friends, she says. The company has offered to forgo the rent for February to help her out and boost her cause.
The only income that comes into her house is from her husband’s work, and she has even sold souvenirs that her father left her to keep goinga
As for now, she just waits for the effect of her idea to take hold, and the Sevillian hospital agrees, if necessary, to operate on her.
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