Young Patient Takes Initiative for His Own Health
12-year-old Alejandro came into the clinic without his parents, who have to work. He had prepared a list of his medical concerns.
At the medical site in Tupac Amaru, Peru, New Horizons medical team treated a record number of patients – nearly 900 each day. The population in the more urban, relatively wealthier, district was a marked change from the population in the previous site location of San Clemente, where many patients came from poorer, more rural areas.
Many patients are being seen for chronic problems like diabetes and asthma, which require one on one counseling from the practitioners to discuss disease management. In the pediatrics ward, many of the parents that come in are simply looking for reassurance, and need counseling on nutrition, or other common illnesses like parasites and UTIs.
Project HOPE volunteer Pediatrician, Dr. Lee Morris, was impressed by some of her more independent patients, like 12-year-old Alejandro. He came in without his parents, who have to work, and had prepared a list of his complaints, which included a misaligned fracture with a large callous formation, Giardia, and a cold. He was planning to return the following day to see dental for an abscess, and optometry for an eye exam and glasses. “It’s inspiring to have an intelligent 12-year-old come in on his own, wanting to take care of himself independently of his parents.”
The team was also reminded of one of the main goals of this mission – disaster response preparation. Since the rotations began, the team has felt several tremors including a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rattled the Tupac Amaru site one afternoon. No damage was sustained, but those who felt it were left a little shaken.
It’s a reminder of what devastation could potentially come to pass again, just a few years since the devastating earthquake in Pisco in 2007. One of the overall missions of Project HOPE and the Air Force is to develop community ties. If, and when, another disaster occurs, there will be a team already ready to deploy and assist in relief efforts in an efficient and expedient manner.