Hospitals in the most miserable country in the world have turned into battlefield clinics — but there is no war

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Hospitals in the most miserable country in the world have turned into battlefield clinics — but there is no war
An opposition supporter stands in front of Venezuelan National Guards in a rally to demand a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello
An opposition supporter reacts in front of Venezuelan National Guards in a rally to demand a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An opposition supporter catches a tear gas bomb during clashes with riot policemen in a rally to demand a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A demonstrator wearing a Venezuelan national flag to cover his face, walks in front of a burning van during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal, Venezuela March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
An anti-government protester runs away from tear gas during a demonstration against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal, in the state of Tachira, February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MAY 11: Venezuelans shout slogans during a demonstration held by opponents of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, as they demand a referendum in Caracas on May 11, 2016. (Photo by Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A protester yells at Venezuelan National Guard members during an opposition march in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. About 8,000 opposition supporters attempted to march to the downtown office of the national electoral board (CNE) in Caracas today to demand that the agency comply with specified time frame to verify signatures collected in first phase of process to call for recall referendum on President Nicolas Maduro. Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Venezuelan opposition activists clash with the police during a demonstration in San Cristobal, on May 11, 2016. Thousands of Venezuelan opposition took to the streets to demand the National Electoral Council (CNE) to accelerate the process of a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. / AFP / George Castellanos (Photo credit should read GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Venezuelan opposition activists clash with the police during a demonstration in San Cristobal, on May 11, 2016. Thousands of Venezuelan opposition took to the streets to demand the National Electoral Council (CNE) to accelerate the process of a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. / AFP / George Castellanos (Photo credit should read GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Oppositors of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro set up fire barricades during demonstrations in Maracaibo city on April 28, 2016. The political tension, shortages and now enforced electricity blackouts that started this week have has raised fears of unrest in the South American oil state. Looting and clashes were reported in various towns including the country's second-biggest city Maracaibo after daily power cut-offs were formally launched on Monday. / AFP / JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
A National Guard soldier's shield is covered by the Spanish message: "I love you, freedom," written by a protester during an anti-government march in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The opposition is marching to demand election officials start counting signatures that could lead to a presidential recall vote. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
An anti-government demonstrator shouts insults at National Guard soldiers behind a fence that blocks demonstrators from reaching the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. The opposition is marching to demand election officials start counting signatures that could lead to a presidential recall vote. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
A woman wears a mouth cover made in the colors of Venezuela's flag during a protest by journalists and human rights activists in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Press unions and human rights groups protested attacks against journalists and limits on the sale of imported newsprint. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Opposition supporters carry an injured man during clashes with riot policemen in a rally to demand a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello
An injured protester lies on the street during an opposition supporters rally to demand a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MAY 11: Venezuelan opposition leader and Miranda State governor Henrique Capriles (L) is seen after he was affected by tear gas during a demonstration held by opponents of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, demanding a referendum in Caracas on May 11, 2016. (Photo by Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Venezuela's hospitals are failing.

In a recent bombshell New York Times report, Nicholas Casey outlined how the country's economic crisis has led to a huge public health emergency.

"Hospital wards have become crucibles where the forces tearing Venezuela apart have converged," wrote Casey.

"Gloves and soap have vanished from some hospitals. Often, cancer medicines are found only on the black market. There is so little electricity that the government works only two days a week to save what energy is left."

Citing one particularly horrifying example of a hospital, Casey writes it "has no fully functioning X-ray or kidney dialysis machines because they broke long ago. And because there are no open beds, some patients lie on the floor in pools of their blood. It is a battlefield clinic in a country where there is no war."

Moreover, he also cited a few stunning statistics, which he got from a government report provided by lawmakers. The rate of death among babies under a month old in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry increased to just over 2% in 2015, up from 0.02% in 2012 — aka 100 times larger in three years. And the death rate among new mothers in the same hospitals increased by about five times.

Venezuela in Crisis

The New York Times report comes at a time when Venezuela continues to struggle with a suffocating economic crisis. The OPEC member, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, heavily relies on the commodity for its export revenues. Things went south after oil prices collapsed, especially since higher prices funded many of the government's social programs in the past.

President Nicolás Maduro has tried out some unorthodox things in the wake of the economic catastrophe, including things like changing the time zone, urging women to cut usage of hairdryers to save electricity, and forcing holidays for state employees. Most recently, he declared a 60-day state of emergency "due to what he called plots from Venezuela and the United States to subvert him," according to Reuters.

Screen Shot 2016 05 17 at 9.33.58 AMReuters/Jorge Silva

Unfortunately, the country's economic future is not looking very bright. Central bank data suggests that Venezuela's GDP contracted by 5.7% in 2015, and IMF figures suggest that it will shrink by 8% in 2016. Meanwhile, inflation is expected to rise from a world high of 275% in 2015 to a mind-blowing 720% in 2016, according to a January estimate from the IMF.

Due to this insanely high inflation, Venezuela is likely to once again be the most "miserable" country in the world. (Arthur Okun's "Misery Index" adds together a country's unemployment and inflation rates. The higher the number, the more "miserable" a country is.)

Related: Venezuela struggles to keep lights, water on:

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Venezuela struggles to keep water & lights on
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Hospitals in the most miserable country in the world have turned into battlefield clinics — but there is no war
People fill plastic containers with water in a well on the street, close to a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Women cook with candlelight at a street food stall, during a power cut in Tinaquillo in the state of Cojedes, Venezuela, March 20, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A woman carries a container filled with water up a flight of stairs at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, March 17, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A man walks in the hallway of a hotel, during a power cut in Barinas in the state of Barinas, Venezuela, March 30, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
People illuminate themselves with car lights, during a power cut in Tinaquillo in the state of Cojedes, Venezuela, March 20, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A plastic container with a corrugated metal sheet placed on top to collect rain water is seen in a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, March 17, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A worker inspects the electric generator at a farm, during a power cut in Tinaquillo in the state of Cojedes, Venezuela, March 20, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
People have dinner on the dark at a street food stall, during a power cut in Tinaquillo in the state of Cojedes, Venezuela, March 20, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Marelis Gonzalez waits for clients in a food store, during a power cut in Puerto Ordaz in Bolivar state, Venezuela, April 12, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Maria Rivero, carrying plastic containers used to carry water, poses for a picture in a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Yunni Perez holds plastic bottles used to carry water while she poses for a picture in her house, in a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A man walks past an electric pole with overhead power cables in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An electricity meter is seen in a house in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers walk down the stairs during a power cut in a hotel in Barinas in the state of Barinas, Venezuela, March 30, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Arcelia Leandro poses for a picture at the kitchen of her house, while she waits for the power to return, during a power cut in Puerto Ordaz in Bolivar state, Venezuela, April 12, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A non-operative water tank is seen in a neighbourhood called "The Tank" in the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Children fill plastic containers with water from a well on a street, close to a neighbourhood called "The Tank" in the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, March 17, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Workers fill water tank trucks at a filling centre in Caracas, Venezuela, March 18, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A man pushes a wheelbarrow loaded with water containers in a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, March 17, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Alexandra Evaristo (C) and Balbina Ortega pose for a picture next to their plastic containers used to carry water, near a well on a street, close to a neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Men carrying plastic containers used for water, walk in front of a non-operative water tank, in the neighbourhood called "The Tank" at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, April 3, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A woman walks next to a non-operative water tank in the neighbourhood called "The Tank" in the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela, March 17, 2016. Although their nation has one of the world's biggest hydroelectric dams and vast rivers like the fabled Orinoco, Venezuelans are still suffering water and power cuts most days. The problems with stuttering services have escalated in the last few weeks: yet another headache for the OPEC nation's 30 million people already reeling from recession, the world's highest inflation rate, and scarcities of basic goods. President Nicolas Maduro blames a drought, while the opposition blames government incompetence. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins SEARCH "SERVICES TANK" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
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Many economists and analysts had previously noted that the country will be looking at a really rough year.

"Perhaps no country in OPEC has suffered such a severe economic shock amid the collapse in oil prices as Venezuela," wrote RBC Capital Markets' Helima Croft back in February.

"Given these severe headwinds, we believe that Venezuela's economic fortunes – and its ability to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe – will largely hinge on whether China continues to open its checkbook to the country this year," Croft added.

Check out the full story and photographs at the New York Times.

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