Saturday, July 25, 2009


Feliza is 11 years old;she lives with her parents and 3 siblings in a small mountainous village. Two weeks ago her father brought her to our clinic with a referral from a government clinic with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis and malnutrition. Government doctors in village clinics have no access to diagnostic tests and only basic medications. The minimal care received in these clinics is without cost to the patient. Feliza appeared sad and very ill; she was very frail, thin and juandiced. The translation of her name is HAPPY.
Unfortunately this is not reality for her now.

Our Doctor,Ever, ordered an ultra sound to identify the mass in her abdomen and other lab tests. We must accompany patients to the next town, provide a translator and usually pay the cost of the ultra sound. Many chemical lab tests are performed in our own clinic but others we send out to a larger Laboratory with a Bio Chemist in this same town. Felizas condition was chronic and complicated. Her tests showed negative for hepatitis but she had a yet unidentified mass in her liver, chronic fever and pain. A Pediatrician was consulted and he ordered an abdominal CAT scan and more complex laboratory tests. The results showed a severe peritonitis, necrotic ganglion, a Liver abscess, probably a result of intestinal amoebas that were also identified. She had lower extremity edema from the malnutrition and the ascites, abdomial fluid retention, was increasing.

In our culture Feliza would be in Intensive care! Not so in the rural area of Guatemala where Health Care for the POOR is unavailable and inadequate. There was no way we could admit her to the government hospital because we knew she would not receive the care and medications needed or could her parents be at her side. We wouldnt send her back home! We brought her back to our small ward for patients in our clinic. Her prognosis was grave. Cirrhosis was feared. She was profoundly anemic and her father donated blood for her and she was transfused. This was done in our clinic infirmary. Antibiotics, amoebic treatment,pain medication, small diuretic doses and IV infusions have been happening. Last night she had a difficult night but now 24 hours after the transfusion she seems slightly better and smiling.

Feliza is one of the reasons why our parish clinic has a mission. We are not here to solve the health issues for the government. We are here as mission people, making present JESUS, at the bedside and in the communities, where there is suffering and injustice. OUR MISSION is one of a PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR AND MOST NEEDY and thus we participate in the construction of a just society with solidarity and service for LIFE!


Send your donations to:
Guatemala Mission
Diocese of Helena
P.O. Box 1729