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Posts Tagged ‘medical care’

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.

Efrain has Cataract Surgery

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

By Desi Stephens

Last week we experienced a real-life demonstration of why our campaign to raise $31,000 by Dec. 31 to adequately fund the medical program at Dorie’s Promise is so important.

Seven-year-old Efrain had surgery recently on his left eye because of cataracts. Surgeons removed the lens and anterior capsule and implanted an artificial lens. A Nov. 8 check-up showed good results.

“The surgeons see a good outcome so far,” says Dr. Francisco Castro, our medical director.

“Due to his body language, general reactions, and eye reactions, my first clinical impression is that—for the first time—Efrain is showing clear interest in his surroundings and the doctors’ and nurses’ faces.”

Not only is Efrain starting to visualize images, after a few months, Dr. Castro expects him to be healed. And, to be able to develop further skills.

“I hope he will able to manage some abstract understanding,” Dr. Castro says. “This will help him progress with personal development, even though he will still have a chromosome disorder and developmental delay.”

Mama Miriam, one of our Special Mothers, calls it “amazing” to see Efrain trying to follow lights and sounds for the first time.

“When I try to get close to him he is more alert than before,” agrees Mama Carol. “I guess it is because for the first time in his life he is seeing shapes and colors.”

Director Alejandra Diaz says there is nothing that makes her happier than knowing that Dorie’s Promise is changing lives forever.

“We just did something for Efrain that will literally change his way to see the world,” Alej says. “Is that not enough reason to keep committed and working and doing my best for all our children, every day?”

This progress cheers our hearts and shows why funding for our medical program is so vital.

The outcome of Efrain’s surgery marks the second time this fall that we have seen amazing results because of this initiative. The other was Abraham, a child who had been ill regularly since coming here last year.

Quick action by his Special Mother and Dr. Castro helped keep him breathing before he was rushed to a private hospital for treatment of pneumonia.

The question is: where would Abraham be today without this special help? We hate to think of the answer.

When considering how medical care has brightened the future for so many children, we think it offers a cost-benefit ratio that would make any business proud.

“Our supporters have been so generous in the past,” says founder Heather Radu. “I am confident they will again help us meet this needs with special gifts.”

If you can help, click here “Give Today”.

Medical Care Campaign

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Desi Stephens-

Two months ago we carried a report about the medical care offered under the direction of Dr. Francisco Castro. Dorie’s Promise recently announced a campaign to raise just over $32,000 by the end of 2011 for our medical program.

The reason is a decline in the general donations that are used to cover Dr. Castro’s salary, a nurse, equipment, hospital visits, and prescription medications.

“That may sound like a lot but when you break it down it is only about $73 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.”

Guatemala continues to be a dangerous place to live, especially for children growing up as orphans. Some frightening statistics: a child is abandoned in Guatemala City every four days, more than 10 children die each week as a result of violence, and the nation has
an infant mortality rate of 36 percent.

Unlike the United States, there are few programs in Guatemala that provide quality medical care for children. That means it is expensive to visit the doctor or go to a hospital.

In addition, at public hospitals doctors are not able to provide quality care. Many children who go for simple illnesses do not always survive.

The hiring of Dr. Castro has its roots in a 2008 tragedy. A severe outbreak of Rotarius infection swept through Dorie’s Promise. More than 60 children became ill and were hospitalized. Though we worked hard to assure everyone recovered, we lost a child during this horrible outbreak.

“When that happened, I knew we needed to have a full-time doctor here on site,” Heather says. “We are responsible for too many children not to have a medical doctor always available to us.”

The value of having Dr. Castro on staff became quite apparent during September. Little Abraham has been consistently ill since he came to live with us last year. One night his Special Mother realized he was having trouble breathing and contacted the doctor.

Within 20 minutes Dr. Castro arrived to examine Abraham, who had a high fever and a terrible case of pneumonia.

Dr. Castro used our oxygen unit to help him breathe and then rushed him to a private hospital. Because of the physician’s actions, little Abraham is alive today.

Give Today

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 “Give Today” link above and then “Give a special gift for the ministry.”

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.