Thursday, July 14, 2011

Diabetes, Cancer, Malnutrition, Surgeries

Family and Friends,
Here at the Clinica Maxeña I have witnessed much progress in the health care provided and the Diagnosis of Disease. I was one of the Register Nurses from Montana that co found the Clinica Maxeña in 1966 as a parish mission clinic of the Diocese of Helena, MT. There was no medical doctor for the first five years. The patients came mostly carried in chairs and usually with chronic disease in advanced stages. Communicable disease was rampant, such as Tuberculosis, Measles, Whooping cough; malnutrition was severe and there were more maternal deaths, and tetanus in newborn infants. Doctors in the rural area were almost nil except in National Hospitals.

Today four doctors live in or near Santo Tomas. Ultrasounds and laboratory are now vital for doctors to make a correct diagnosis. There are over 15 Pharmacies in our community of over 12,000 population. There are more than seventy mayan indigenous communities in the mountains near us. As a parish clinic we continue to serve the most poor. Our mission clinic supplements much of the diagnostic tests that are requested by our doctor. Our medications are sold at a much lower cost to the patient. We accompany patients to Guatemala City for cancer treatments and to another city for AIDS antiviral treatments. Cancer treatments were before supplemented by the government by 50% but this is no longer true. AIDS treatments are free for these patients. Only emegency surgeries are done in National Hospital and much of their budget is for patients who have suffered violence in the present environment in Guatemala.

The more common diseases, treated by our doctor in our clinic today, are Diabetes, Cancer, and Malnutrition. We have several patients requiring surgery monthly, mostly for gallbladder and hernias. These patients are referred to Catholic Institutions who bring brigades of doctors from the US and provide surgeries for minimal cost of one hundred dollars. For the very poor we supplement this cost also. Our budget continues to rise. We have to depend on generosity of others. The Gospel tells us the Poor will be with us always. Thank You for walking this journey with us.

In this country, that has no health insurance and a socialized system that does not function, much responsibility falls to religious Institutions. Thank You again. Please donate on line or send donation to following direction in Helena, MT.

Donate on line at: and note for the Clinica Maxeña or send to

Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, MT 59624 note for the Clinica Maxeña

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