Definitive Care15 April, 2018
One of the most rewarding aspects of collaborative work has been the ability to connect resources to benefit children in need of surgical intervention and therapeutic treatment. Working in a remote area with very limited access to care or even to transportation offers challenges in meeting the needs of people who require definitive care. In order to find solutions, it takes more than a village!
Our referrals most often come from the village volunteers or “voluntarios” who tell us of the compelling situations families face, especially those of children with medical concerns. Through these local connections, we then work with the local clinic, health promoter and nurse to coordinate and ensure follow up. Our local director maintains funds for families to provide bus transportation and meals when they must travel to Tegucigalpa for medical appointments.
Arrangements for lodging and transportation to appointments are made through our directors in the city. Surgical candidates are met by our medical director, Dr. Jorge Carrasco, who is employed by One World Surgical Center. Dr. Carrasco is able to keep us updated on our patients and close the communication loop so we are prepared for follow up care and subsequent appointments. CHP-H is extremely grateful for the gratis surgical interventions that our children have benefited from. The care they have received has been extraordinary in the manner of skill, competence, and compassion that they provide with their services.
CHP-H has been able to provide support to these families through the generosity of grants through the MDRT Foundation and the Harvard Business School. Providing treatment requires supportive measures for logistics and without the ongoing support we can provide, this project would not be possible.
Meet some of the recipients of our surgical program:
We met this adorable three year old in May 2017 after hearing about her condition from the volunteer representing her village. Tatiana was born with two club feet. She was seen at the hospital in La Paz after her birth and had two casts applied to correct the problem. Unfortunately only one foot healed properly and the other remained twisted as is characteristic of this deformity. Her family was unable to pursue further treatment for lack of bus fare to the hospital. OWS agreed to evaluate Tatiana and we brought her along with her mom and her aunt to Tegucigalpa as the May team returned to Tegucigalpa.
The surgical director Dr. Merlin Antunez, offered an optimistic prognosis with surgery and scheduled her operation for a few weeks out. He generously agreed to have her cousin Bryan come along for an evaluation for his burned hand after we learned about it from her family.
Tatiana thoroughly enjoyed her stay in Tegucigalpa where we had a chance to take her to the Children’s museum and out to her first restaurant. She has had several follow up appointments and is due to visit the surgical center again for evaluation. It may be necessary for Tatiana to have additional surgery on her leg and we know she’s in the best of hands. We will continue to coordinate and fund her treatments and enjoy seeing her running around the soccer field. We will post more updates on Tatiana soon.
At the age of six Bryan burned his hand badly, causing his fingers to contract and adhere to his palm. We heard about his injury a year later through his aunt (Tatiana’s family). Bryan was evaluated at the surgical center and scheduled for surgery just three weeks out with a specialized brigade for hand surgeries.
He had the operation to free his fingers and repair his palm including a full thickness graft. Bryan is doing very well post-op and has regained mobility in the affected fingers. The surgery has had and will continue to have an enormous impact on his ability to be a productive member of his community. Life is rigorous and demanding in these poor regions. The ability to work and provide is critical.
We are thrilled that Bryan won’t have the added burden that his injury would have had on his life. He also has the chance to grow up with the full use of both hands to enjoy his time being a child and having two hands with which to play. When Bryan’s time for surgery arrived his neighbor inquired if he might send his young sister for evaluation. Yessi became the next chapter in our emerging surgical program.
Yessi and her siblings are orphans but she lives with her older brother and his family in a small village in Santa Ana. Her brother heard that their neighbor Bryan was going for surgery on his burned hand and he asked if Yessi might accompany him in the hopes she could be evaluated. Yessi had developed a mass on her thigh when she was 14 years old. She arrived at the surgical center along with Bryan, and after evaluating her, the doctors decided to surgically remove the mass that very day. Unfortunately, Yessi was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a very serious diagnosis for a child.
Through the doctors at One World Surgery and our local directors, we began a collaboration with the Honduran Foundation for Children with Cancer. Initially our affiliation was centered on Yessi’s treatment but it has developed to include a combined effort to educate practitioners in identifying cancer in its early stages. Our director, Gloria, has collaborated with members of the foundation to present a program at the Penzotti school in Tegucigalpa. We are planning similar presentations together for rural practitioners and community health services.
Six months after her surgery, Yessi completed her chemotherapy, and we are happy to report that her future look bright and healthy. The foundation covered the cost of her treatments CHP-H was able to support her family’s numerous trips to Tegucigalpa. Gloria continues to meet Yessi on her visits and provides us with updates on her progress.
Facilitating Yessi’s treatment has not only resulted in a healthy child, it has, we hope, raised a level of awareness about cancer identification that will likely save the lives of children and adults in the future.