Monday, August 24, 2009

News from Clinica Maxeña!

Good afternoon,
Life has been perhaps routine and I have not stopped to write a bit of our world in our parish clinic, LA MAXEÑA. We are preparing for our bi annual Brigade of Opthamologist surgeons on September 7, 2009. The majority of these doctors have been volunteering this valuable service for over ten years and most of them are from California. The actual Surgical Opthamology Unit in our clinic was donated by a Montana Opthamologist, Dr. Kuptco of Hamilton, Montana. Over 300 patients have signed up for consult for this opportunity and gift of service.

Our maintenance crew have laid the ground work for another valuable supporter and engineer, Monty Giles. Monty will come in November to install a water pump for a 5,000 gallon reserve water tank. This will insure water for our second floor of the clinic and also for the dental service. This is again a very valuable gift as water around the world becomes more scarce.

Last Friday we had a real emergency that left little time for decisions. Marta is 19 yrs old, married, of few economic resources. She arrived with shortness of breath, very rapid heart beat and in acute distress.She had not been previously to a clinic. It was the end of the day, the end of the week. Our Doctor examined her and knew we had to send her immediately to a hospital. He knew that on weekends the doctor in charge of Intensive Care in the government Hospital is not present until Monday. Resident Doctors would make decisions. He also knew there are few cardiac meds available in the hospital. We decided to send her to a private clinic with an Internist we knew had cardiac experience. After emergency care, electrocardiaogram, chest Xray and Echocardiogram, oxygen and lab tests she was diagnosed of having a serious mitral valve defect, and pulmonary hypertension. She spent the weekend in this private clinic and was stabilized. The cost was less than one thousand dollars. The family was able to obtain 75% of this and the clinic donated the remainder. Today she went to the Cardiac Center in Guatemlala City, which is subsidized by the government. She will be operated by Cardiologists this week. We are confident the cost will be minimal due to her poverty. We are content that she is now stable and we know patients, such as Marta, make real our purpose of mission in Guatemala.

Saturday, Sr. Mary and myself, went to visit the home of one of our patients who we were aware was in critical condition. Israel was 4yrs old and had a brain tumor. He was in treatment for many months with both chemo and radiation. His condition had left him blind and he had glass eyes. Israel was a happy child when he would come to visit Sr Anna with his Mom. Israel was a child who had an ANGEL, from our diocese, who was supporting his medical care. This is a project of Sr Anna and a great financial aid to our medical needs for patients. We knew that a few weeks ago the Oncologist in Guatemala City had informed the family that the tumor had returned and there was no more treatment available except comfort care. His family was very sad. When we did not hear from them we felt he had died. Our visit to their very humble home confirmed this. Israel had died eight days ago. His young parents spoke about his death being in the arms of one of his aunts and he had died without pain. They truly missed him and spoke of how he was loved by all the neighbors and how he played with cars and balls as if he could see his world around him. Again we thank you for accompanying us in our work here in Guatemala. We could not do it without your generosity. I end this note by sharing a picture of ISRAEL and his MOM.