Hope for Luz

For the second time in 6 months, Luz suffered a fall.  The first fall had been in May and had resulted in swelling of the right leg and inability to walk that lasted for about one month.  At that time, her parents, Waldo Poma and Maria Magdalena Limachi, opted to use herbal medicines traditional to their region. These decreased the symptoms and eventually the four year old appeared healed.   This new fall with no apparent cause had her parents worried.  Luz’s family lives in Maynipaya, Coroico, in the county of La Paz, Bolivia, about three hours by transport truck from the nearest small hospital. They caught the truck on the weekend since this was the only time that it passed through town. The on call doctor, after evaluation and an x-ray, informed the parents that Luz had a fracture of her affected leg and were told that she needed to be evaluated and treated by a trauma specialist in the Mother/Infant Hospital in La Paz. Overwhelmed and saddened by the prospect since the parents had never left their community before, were financially unable to make the trip, and had no knowledge how to proceed, the young couple asked the locals what their options were.  Fortunately, Dr. Ramiro Narvaez, Director of Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) in La Paz, happened to be in the region that day.  They were able to meet up with him and his recommendation was immediate transfer to the hospital and he offered all of the support necessary to make this a reality.

Luz was transported to HAI where she was seen immediately by the pediatrician as well as the trauma and orthopedic specialists.  Digital images of the leg revealed a pathologic baseline fracture and a tumor on the bone. The child was hospitalized for 6 days under SUMI, a federal program for mothers and children. Biopsy results are pending. These will allow the doctors to come up with a treatment plan. The family is unable to support their stay in the city since they are coffee and citrus farmers with limited financial resources and are unable to cover the cost of treatment for Luz.  Despite the challenges, HAI was able to provide excellent treatment and will continue working with Luz and her family, providing the compassionate and outstanding care that has become their signature.

-Lin Beaty

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