Fall / Winter 2022 Newsletter
Armondo and Martitza
Armando is thirty-two years old, married, and has a son who is in first grade. On a rainy day in July of this year, he left his house to go to work on his motorcycle. It was raining so hard that he could not see the cracks in the asphalt. His motorcycle hit a crack that caused him to lose control of the motorcycle. He fell off the motorcycle and landed hard on the pavement on his right side.
People who witnessed the accident took him to a nearby medical center. His right arm was in so much pain that he could not move it. X-rays showed that he had fractured his clavicle (collarbone). He was directed to a doctor who specializes in trauma, who told Armando that he needed urgent surgery. Armando was admitted to a public hospital, and a plate was inserted to stabilize the fractured bone. The city had an accident insurance program that Armando qualified for, and they covered most of the cost of his surgery. He sold a few of his belongings to pay the difference and pay for his pain medicine.
During his time of recuperation, his wife was working, but she did not earn enough to make ends meet. After five weeks of not working at his construction job, Armando decided to look for a job that would not involve heavy lifting or interfere with the healing process. By now, he could move his right arm freely without any pain, so he took off the sling and went for a job interview on his motorcycle. On the way home, he stopped at a store to buy bread for supper. Just as he was leaving the parking lot, a dog ran out in front of his motorcycle. He swerved to avoid hitting the dog, lost his balance, and fell onto the pavement.
Some teenagers nearby took him back to his house. He could no longer move his right arm because of the pain. The pain was so intense that pain medicine had no effect. After being in pain all night, he called the doctor who had taken care of him. The doctor said he would see him without charging him. New x-rays showed that the collarbone was again fractured and the surgical plate was out of place. He needed another urgent surgery but had no money to pay for one.
He spent a second night in pain and remembered seeing the Mission of Hope clinic. He had passed by there on his way to work every day, and there were always a lot of people waiting in line to go in. The next morning he got up early and talked to the people in line outside the clinic. They told him that it was a place where medical attention was free and that he could see a doctor if he waited in line.
Armando saw one of the Mission of Hope doctors, who referred him to Tania, the clinic administrator. Tania met with Armando and his wife to explain that Mission of Hope would be willing to help him if he would commit to following all of the instructions post-op, as well as staying off the motorcycle and keeping his arm in the sling until it had totally healed. Armando agreed saying he would be very careful this time around. He had a successful surgery without any complications. Mission of Hope paid for all of his expenses and took food to the family during his recovery when he could not work. Armando has now completely healed and is so very thankful for the help he received.
Maritza is thirty-six years old, married, and the mother of five children. About three years ago, she began having sharp pains in her side. At that time, she and her family were living in the city of La Paz. She went to a doctor there who told her she had gallstones and needed surgery. Before the surgery could be realized, her father became ill and she used all the money she had saved to help her father.
In January of this year, Maritza’s sister-in-law, who lives in Santa Cruz, offered her a job as a cook’s helper and a place to stay. Maritza’s husband encouraged her to go, so she came to Santa Cruz. When she arrived she found out that her sister-in-law had been laid off from her job, leaving them both without work. Maritza got a loan from a community bank and started a small business selling food. The business was a failure, so again she found herself without a job and now a debt to pay as well.
At the end of February, Maritza and her sister-in-law had a falling out, and Maritza was asked to leave the house to live somewhere else. A neighbor helped her find a place to rent. Her husband and four of the five children came from La Paz to live with her in Santa Cruz, and her husband got a job helping in construction. Meanwhile, the pain from her gallstones was now so intense that she was not able to work or even find a comfortable position when sitting or lying down.
Maritza talked to the neighbor who had helped her find a place to live, and the neighbor told her about Mission of Hope. She came to the clinic with her oldest son, Jonathan, who was 21 years old. They did not have money for bus fare, so they decided to walk to the clinic. What would have been a 45-minute bus ride took 4 hours on foot. They left home at 2 am, arriving at the clinic at 6 am to get in line. Maritza was seen by a doctor in the clinic who confirmed the diagnosis of gallstones and the need for surgery.
Maritza was directed to the Japanese Hospital, a public hospital in Santa Cruz where one of our Mission of Hope doctors also works as a surgeon. When she got there, she found out that they were only doing emergency surgeries and she was not considered to be an emergency. The machine that they use to sterilize the instruments for surgery was not working, so she was put on a waiting list. Meanwhile, she was sent for routine pre-op blood work, which showed her to be severely anemic.
Maritza returned to the Mission of Hope clinic where she received treatment for the anemia. Time passed, and she still could not get her surgery done at the public hospital. Because she was in pain and the wait list was so backed up for the public hospital, the decision was made to do her surgery in a private clinic. Mission of Hope covered the cost of the surgery, and Maritza is now pain-free!