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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Castro’

Year End Health Report from Dr. Castro

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Dr. Castro with some of the children at our home in Guatemala

By Dr. Castro-

Dr Castro examines one of the orphansIt is my pleasure to announce that we are doing great in the health department. Our children have been healthy, and we have had a wonderful time with them. Like every family we have had our share of colds and flus, but thank God we haven’t had any difficult sicknesses.

The one real hardship of this past year was losing Alex to complications from surgery. It was hard to see Alex go, and I will always remember him for his smile and his boisterous ways. He was always a special kid and I was deeply affected with his passing. To say that he will be missed is a big understatement, but we believe that he is in a better place now, playing in heaven with other special kids.

According to our health program, we have continued to give our special mothers the tools they need to take the best possible care of our kids. We are always striving for the best health care we can provide.

Here’s a quick update on the youngest children in our home:

DULCE, age 18 months. She came to us a premature baby who had been abandoned by her mother on the street. At the local hospital she was treated for pneumonia and bacterial diarrhea. Upon my initial health evaluation, I diagnosed these additional problems: minor but significant physical anomalies, seizures, and a general internal infection. Immediately a diagnostic and therapeutic plan was developed and carried out. Dulce still suffers from a congenital heart problem and has seen a pediatric cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeons to follow up. Besides that, she still faces challenges from delayed growth, reoccurring infections, and seizures. Please be praying with us for her healing.

Dr Castro working in his office at Dorie's PromiseVALENTINA, age 11 months. As a newborn, she had to be ventilated and was in pediatric intensive care because of neonatal pneumonia. A premature baby born at 36 to 37 weeks of gestation, she suffered from low birth weight, probably due to her mother’s malnutrition. She came to us with marks on her skin from physical abuse and abandonment. When she came to Dorie’s Promise, I set up a special nutritional and growth/development plan and made plans for a specialist to follow up with her. She is now doing very well, and we are hopeful that the problems with her prematurity are transient ones. As she continues to get the love and care she needs, Valentina is growing into a healthy little girl.

MARIO, age 18 months. Also a premature baby born at 36 weeks’ gestation, he suffered a low birth weight, low temperature control, and failure to thrive. He also had oral candida fungi, bacterial conjunctivitis, and bronchitis. For being so little, he had gone through a lot. He still has a growth delay, but we expect a good prognosis going forward. He will still be vulnerable to infections and other sicknesses for a while so we are keeping a close eye on him.

The future is looking bright, and we are always working to keep our young ones healthy and well. I’d like to thank you all for your contributions to keeping them safe and healthy. I hope I will be able to continue serving Dorie’s Promise. It’s a job that fills my heart with joy and satisfaction.

On The Passing Of My Friend Alex

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

By Bradley Burck-

Sitting in a crowded restaurant on Father’s Day, I heard my cell phone ping — a new email had just arrived. It was Sunday and I was surrounded by family, enjoying a day meant to celebrate fatherhood, so I was not about to look at it. But at that moment, I heard a little voice in the back of my mind say, “You need to read this.”

As I read the message, my eyes filled with tears. It was from my friend Pablo, who works for Forever Changed International at our home for orphans in Guatemala City called Dorie’s Promise.

The message simply said:

Dear Bradley,

There is not a good way to say this. Alex passed away today in the morning in the Guatemala Hospital. We praise the Lord that he is in a better place. I personally prayed over him and in the name of Jesus Christ. I declare that he is happy with eternal life in Christ. 

Pablo

Alex was my friend. If you ever met him, I’m sure you would consider him your friend too. Every time I went to Guatemala, I made it a point to go to the “special needs” room and sit with Alex and talk. His eyes and smile just lit up when people visited him.

While I know my words and stories and songs never really communicated much to him, I always felt like sitting with him was where I belonged — like hanging out with an old friend. Ours was the type of relationship where words didn’t matter, just the company was enough to fill the loneliness and pain and strangeness of life that I think we both felt.

Alex’s smile always made me smile. His big bright teeth, open mouth, and arms reaching always greeted me, and never stopped during our time together. I knew there was a kid inside Alex just waiting to explode out of the body that trapped him and his words and thoughts in this life.

I actually skipped the second part of Pablo’s email when I read it at the restaurant. It wasn’t until later, when I was a little more collected, that I finished reading it. I can see Pablo praying over Alex’s degenerated body and imagine God reminding Pablo that He’s got this one, and that Alex will soon be with Him. I smiled at that and the thought of Alex — tall and strong and full of laughter running down the streets of heaven. His hoots and hollers ringing though the sky.

Doc Castro wrote to me and explained what had happened. Alex had been deteriorating for the last few years. As he got older and grew, his physical problems progressed. Doc put him in the hospital a week ago because of intestinal complications. He had an “abdominal band” that was either formed at birth or resulted from an appendicitis operation he had almost two years ago. Ultimately it was this “band” that led to Alex’s passing.

While in the hospital, they determined this band was causing the small and large intestines damage and needed to be removed. Last Monday, Alex went through that operation. There were complications, so Alex really struggled through the postoperative period. His struggles made recovery impossible, and he passed away early on Sunday, June 16, 2013.

I can say without hesitation that everyone at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala will miss Alex. As Doc reminded me in his email, “At age 17, Alex was happy and relaxed due to the loving care at the Dorie’s Promise home. Thank you to all the friends who supported and loved him. He was special. He is now in heaven, thanks be to God!”

So, Alex — during these days after you’re gone — I am selfishly wishing you were still here. But deep inside I know you are in a much better place. You have a new and wonderful body, a beautiful home, and are surrounded by the love of a Father who loves you more than I ever could.

Goodbye, my friend, my dear sweet friend Alex — I can’t wait to see you again!

Health Report

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

By Dr. Francisco Castro-Barillas-

I want to give you a report on our Health Program at Dorie’s Promise, outlining our achievements in the previous year and our successful support of the care provided to our children.  This program has been an invaluable support to Forever Changed and Dorie’s Promise’s goal to provide a loving Christian home for children to grow, thrive, develop, and reach their full potential.

Our medical program has accomplished many achievements in 2012.  We have fulfilled all administrative, Health Program, and clinical duties.  One hundred percent of the illnesses at Dorie’s Promise have been solved satisfactorily and have not returned or resulted in complications thanks to early interventions, preventive measures, and close monitoring.  Every child continues to receive comprehensive, personalized pediatric medical attention.  In 2012, their health needs were properly attended to on a daily and as-needed basis and continue to be.  Not a single dangerous infectious disease outbreak has happened since 2007 (before my arrival).  Every new child presenting to Dorie’s Promise with acute undernourishment has fully recovered within two weeks of coming into our care.

Dental cavities have been attended to and treated in 97% of cases.  A few children are still being treated, and two have not been able to receive attention due to psychological concerns and/or developmental delay.  Obesity has not been a concern for most of our children, except that five of them remain overweight.

Our health program has proven extremely proficient in handling health concerns independently: 97% of illnesses were solved by our Health Program at Dorie’s Promise through physician and nursing interventions—only 3% of health problems needed a second opinion or the utilization of outside facilities.

In addition to providing for the care of our children, the nurse and I were able to give medical attention to Dorie’s Promise personnel and families (with 225 medical and 350 nurse consultations).  We have an open-door policy for our families and personnel.  These interventions and preventative measures allowed us to address illnesses and prevent infectious disease outbreaks in our facility.  The nurse and I were also able to provide education and medical attention for missionaries and other visitors, ensuring that health concerns were addressed as needed.

Thanks to our Health Program, Forever Changed has saved a large amount of money, being supported by US and Guatemalan donations.  100% of our vaccines were donated by our Guatemalan friends and the Ministry of Health’s donations. 97% of laboratory procedures and tests have been performed for free (80% by private lab donations and 17% by public hospital assistance).

Overall, the Health Program has enabled us to provide a much needed service that supports the safety, well-being, and development of our children in Dorie’s Promise.  We look forward to continuing our service in the coming year.

He Keeps Coming Back for More

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Pablo Villagran-

(First of three parts)

A mission trip to Guatemala can be a life-changing experience. Just ask George Park, a member of a church in Centreville, Virginia. He was so touched by his first visit to Dorie’s Promise in November of 2011 that he returned three times in the next nine months.

After three solo visits, in mid-August he brought along his pastor, Bobby Suh, and Jeff Hart, a friend from Koinos Young Saeng Presbyterian. They made a “vision trip” to see how their congregation can offer long-term service to the people of Guatemala 

“These trips have allowed us to learn and bring an awareness to our congregation of the spiritual poverty in our lives and the brokenness around the world,” George says.

“Many of us get so caught up with pursuing the ‘American Dream’ that we forget God’s heart is for the world. We live our lives as if we don’t need a Savior. That’s a dangerous thing.”

The northern Virginia native has participated in numerous activities during his trips here. Among them have been playing—and praying—with our children, singing worship songs with them, and helping the staff wash dishes, fold laundry and feed infants.

In addition, George has gone into the community to help pour cement floors for a family living in the ghetto, as well as delivering sinks, clothing and food baskets to poor neighborhoods.

He also helped provide relief to a child in the ghetto who had cut his leg, bringing the boy to see our staff physician, Dr. Francisco Castro.

During the time he has served and loved the people of Guatemala, George says God used the children at Dorie’s Promise to heal and transform his heart.

“It was such a blessing to spend time at the orphanage,” he says of the team’s mid-August visit. “We know that God used us as His hands and feet to help the children forget for a moment that they were abandoned and abused. It was our joy to love them through Christ and tell the children that Jesus loves them.”

In addition to helping the children on his four visits, George has maintained contact through e-mail and Facebook and receives regular updates from our staff. This activity helps promote his vision that the children and people of Guatemala come to know Jesus as their Savior.

As followers of Christ, God commanded us to visit widows and orphans in their affliction (James 1:27), says George, adding that his stories and photos don’t fully convey what he experienced.

“That is why I highly recommend and encourage my friends and family to take a trip to Dorie’s Promise through Forever Changed International and see it for themselves,” George says. “The children and staff are amazing. You can sense God’s love the moment you step foot into the orphanage.”

Next week we will look at how a trip here by a family from suburban Chicago made a permanent impact on their lives. In the meantime, if George Park’s words have inspired you, click here to learn how more about a mission trip to Guatemala.

Providing Medical Care

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Our goal this year is to raise $32,400 to cover the costs for our medical program.

Here’s what that includes for the year:

  • $16,000 — Dr. Castro’s salary
  • $8,000 — Nurse salary
  • $1,400 — Office space
  • $2,000 — Supplies, prescriptions, medicine
  • $1,000 — Equipment
  • $4,000 — Emergency hospital fund

These medical costs are vital to the operation of Dorie’s Promise and our ability to care for all of our children.

“That may sound like a lot but when you break it down it is only about $75 per child each month to make sure all our children are receiving the best medical care possible,” says founder Heather Radu. “Our supporters have been so generous in the past that I am asking them to again consider a special gift.”

In his report last year Dr. Castro remarked, "Naturally, we treat acute illnesses—mostly minor injuries—and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin problems. However, we are aware that children at our home also suffer from chronic conditions, usually identified when they arrive. Most are curable, but some problems remain and will “mark” a child forever. This is the case with children who have cerebral palsy or a congenital syndrome."

"The most common disorder is malnutrition, which affects a child’s stature, brain development, and sometimes his or her mental health. Of course, there is always hope. We often see the miracle called resilience. This is a phenomenon where—despite a miserable past, neglect and abuse—a child emerges to become a wonderful, affectionate human being."

This is a serious need. Imagine all the doctor visits you have for just one child—then multiply that by 40. Can you help? Click on the “Donate Now” link below and then write medical care in the comments box.

 

 

If you can make a donation, it will be appreciated by every child who relies on our care to make it through his or her formative years.

Good Health

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Earlier we shared the story of Dulce Maria, an infant who came into our care small and sickly. Thanks to Doctor Castro and our medical team she got the care she needed. Dr. Castro continues to monitor her health, growth, and development.

I am happy to report that her health continues to improve as she grows. You can see the difference that loving care and good medicine make.

Dulce Maria is not the only child in our care whose life Dr. Castro's intervention saved.

In Abraham’s case, recent quick action by our staff literally saved his life. He suffered  from bronchitis when he arrived as an infant, but Dr. Francisco Castro helped him cope with the disease.

One night several weeks ago, his Special Mother realized he was having trouble breathing and contacted Dr. Castro, who came quickly to help.

Dr. Castro recognized that Abraham’s breathing problems, coupled with a high fever, signaled a serious case of pneumonia. He used our oxygen unit to help provide relief and then had the boy transported to a private hospital.

Not only did Abraham survive, he is showing incredible improvements in many areas. Today he is beginning to speak some words, eats by himself, is mobile, and demonstrates a free spirit and curiosity toward the world.

That’s why I want to ask you for help. Our goal this year is to raise $32,400 to cover the costs for our medical program.

Here’s what that includes for the year:

  • $16,000 — Dr. Castro’s salary
  • $8,000 — Nurse salary
  • $1,400 — Office space
  • $2,000 — Supplies, prescriptions, medicine
  • $1,000 — Equipment
  • $4,000 — Emergency hospital fund

These medical costs are vital to the operation of Dorie’s Promise and our ability to care for all of our children.

Please prayerfully consider helping with a special gift today. I don’t know what you are able to give. It seems everyone I talk with is completely engaged in the election right now, and I understand why that happens. I would simply ask that you pray about this and consider something special. Every gift matters as we work to get these medical costs covered.

Maybe you have the ability to give $500 — or $1,000. You might be more comfortable giving a gift of $100 or $50. Or maybe God is putting it on your heart to completely cover one of the items I’ve listed. Whatever your situation, I only ask that you give what is right in your heart. If you are ready to give today CLICK HERE.

Her Health Is In Your Hands

Monday, October 29th, 2012

You know what it is like to hold a brand-new baby in your arms. There is something really special about the moment. Holding that baby just reminds you of the fragility of life.      

Now imagine holding a very sick little baby girl — just days old. Her mother and father are gone for good. Her lungs are weak, she struggles to breathe.

That’s what it was like for Dr. Castro this last July when we found out Dulce Maria was coming to Dorie’s Promise.

She arrived as the smallest bundle we’ve ever seen. It was plain to see she was very sick.

Almost immediately she began having difficulty breathing at night. In fact, at one point it was really bad. We called Dr. Castro. He contacted the nurse right away and had little Dulce Maria put on oxygen. At midnight the same night, we rolled the oxygen into her room to allow her to breathe easier.

Dr. Castro suspected pneumonia after he examined Dulce Maria, so he sent her to the hospital — his diagnosis was confirmed. She received treatment and is now back at Dorie’s Promise, where Dr. Castro continues to monitor her health, growth, and development.

Because of Dr. Castro, Dulce Maria is alive and a major health crisis was averted. Without him, and the rest of our medical team, we would have nowhere to go to address our needs for healthcare.

That’s why I want to ask you for help. Our goal this year is to raise $32,400 to cover the costs for our medical program.

Here’s what that includes for the year:

  • $16,000 — Dr. Castro’s salary
  • $8,000 — Nurse salary
  • $1,400 — Office space
  • $2,000 — Supplies, prescriptions, medicine
  • $1,000 — Equipment
  • $4,000 — Emergency hospital fund

These medical costs are vital to the operation of Dorie’s Promise and our ability to care for all of our children.

Our goal is to have Dorie’s Promise covered 100 percent by sponsorships, but we are not there yet … and this is so important that I must ask for your help today.

Please prayerfully consider helping with a special gift today. I don’t know what you are able to give. It seems everyone I talk with is completely engaged in the election right now, and I understand why that happens. I would simply ask that you pray about this and consider something special. Every gift matters as we work to get these medical costs covered.

Maybe you have the ability to give $500 — or $1,000. You might be more comfortable giving a gift of $100 or $50. Or maybe God is putting it on your heart to completely cover one of the items I’ve listed. Whatever your situation, I only ask that you give what is right in your heart. If you are ready to give today CLICK HERE.

Thank you for all that you have done — for sharing our heart’s desire to care for Guatemalan orphans. Our children love and appreciate your prayers and financial support. You make a difference that will last!

Sincerely,

Heather Radu

Founder

 

P.S.  Dulce Maria was a sick little girl. I honestly wasn’t sure she was going to make it. I know having her in Dr. Castro’s loving hands saved her life. We are blessed to have him on our team.

Volunteers Mean We Don’t Do It Alone

Friday, April 20th, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-
 
Last week I wrote about the largest mission team to ever visit Dorie’s Promise. While it is exciting to see this increase, we are blessed by local volunteers like Omar David.
 
Omar David is a native of Guatemala who later moved to Costa Rica after his father died. His mother remarried an Italian American who worked for the Foreign Service.
 
Finally, the family relocated to Maryland, where Omar went to junior and senior high school. After earning degrees in business administration and economics at the University of Maryland, he returned to Guatemala in 1984.
 
“I try to help in any way I can,” said Omar, who visits every Thursday to deliver food and other supplies. “It feels almost selfish to me because I get much more out of the love the kids give me than I could ever give to them.”
 
He first heard about the orphanage from our medical director, Dr. Francisco Castro, whom he met on the tennis court. Several months later, Omar’s niece contacted him, asking where she could come and help. Dr. Castro offered her the chance to work at the orphanage.
 
A year later, Dr. Castro visited Omar’s sporting goods distributorship to make a purchase.
 
When Omar asked if there was anything he could do to help Dorie’s Promise, Dr. Castro replied that he was short on vaccines for the children and caretakers.
 
“From that moment on, I started calling associates and friends,” Omar recalls. “I was amazed at how many of them wanted to help, but just did not know how they could do so.”
 
Although his primary personal objective is raising funds for vaccines, medical supplies and other needed medications, Omar took his involvement a step further.
 
Last October, he started coming on Thursday with donations, including a Thanksgiving dinner in November. Instead of turkey Omar and his son brought ham and all the trimmings, plus cake and pie.
 
Each week Omar delivers donations from friends and fellow church members— everything from toys and clothing to milk and food. His friend, Luis Ayala, offers produce each week from his farm, such as plantains, bananas, lemons and tomatoes.
 
Omar is working to arrange a trip for the children to the tennis club where he is a member for an exhibition game featuring players sponsored by a sporting goods manufacturer. Plans include a tennis clinic for the kids.
 
“In addition, my congregation has been looking for outreach programs,” said Omar, who belongs to an Episcopal church. “I hope to get them involved in either raising more funds for medicines, or helping with the outreach program the orphanage has with the dump.”
 
Omar isn’t alone. We have students and others who provide everything from companionship to dental services. All are serving God as they help us fulfill our mission to act as His hands, feet and arms to Guatemala’s needy children.

Report from Dr. Castro

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

By Dr. Francisco Castro-

January marked the start of my sixth year as medical director and pediatrician at Dorie’s Promise. The past month brought non-stop activity and numerous issues to attend to, especially after Christmas vacation.

However, we were able to meet every need because of our committed, capable team, which strives to fulfill children’s needs.

Above all, we place a priority on children’s integral health. This includes day-to-day, individual attention for children, personnel and sometimes visitors. Whether a doctor, Special Mother or administrative personnel, everyone watches for the “little things” that can become major concerns.

By doing this we are able to promote children’s biological and physiological health, healthy social interaction, and supportive spirituality.

Naturally, we treat acute illnesses—mostly minor injuries—and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin problems. However, we are aware that children at our home also suffer from chronic conditions, usually identified when they arrive. Most are curable, but some problems remain and will “mark” a child forever. This is the case with children who have cerebral palsy or a congenital syndrome.

The most common disorder is malnutrition, which affects a child’s stature, brain development, and sometimes his or her mental health. Of course, there is always hope. We often see the miracle called resilience. This is a phenomenon where—despite a miserable past, neglect and abuse—a child emerges to become a wonderful, affectionate human being.

Our health system has also evolved to provide useful norms and procedures that enable us to avoid nasty, infectious-disease outbreaks, a common problem in the past. However, this remains a threat in an institution where many children and adults live together.

As with any system, everything is prone to failures, as well improvements and innovations. This is precisely the challenge I see in front of us.

Our children still need improved developmental and learning opportunities, more daily physical activities, healthier diets, more effective dental procedures, and a healthy, stimulating environment.

Guatemala has slowed adoptions in recent years, which presents another challenge. While we still accept babies, other children are growing fast and will stay longer with us. So, another adjustment we must make is caring for older children, including adolescents.

This requires us to do more research on children’s adoptability and find more resources to deal with enormous social, economic and cultural situations, and work to prevent poverty and resolve other social issues.

We must also act as advocates and work to provide the best care possible if we want to see healthier children—and future productive citizens.

This means we must not only provide care at our home, but seek to help communities through comprehensive outreach programs. I believe this will be possible with solidarity, loving care and commitment from those of us who have the privileges of a wealthier life, education and Christian values.