GringoPost | Cuenca, Ecuador: Patient update

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Patient update

Last week we asked for blood donations for a HIV+ 16-year-old, in an attempt to save his life. Unfortunately, Mateo passed away on Friday afternoon, unable to fight the infection. I will not give details here other than to say he had a really sad story and it was one of the most difficult cases we had to deal with.

Sometimes, these attempts fail, but it was not futile. The family was aware of all those who went and donated, those who tried. We gave them hope and she took comfort in knowing that the expat and Ecuadorian communities came together to do everything possible for her son. I was especially appreciative of all the Ecuadorian young people who came together and sent me pictures of them donating.

This family is extremely poor; the father works 5 days per month. The mother gets some work cooking. They have four other children and live in the campo. This could have taken a huge financial toll on them but they were grateful that we were there to support them. We provided meals, transportation, phone recargas and everything she and her son needed. From the ladies in the Esperanza Thrift Shop who got her clothes and spent time with her to those who covered the cost of the funeral. It was truly a team effort of Ecuadorians and expats working together to help this family.

When the doctor and I told the mother that Mateo had died, she looked at me and said "Garry, I cannot do this". I got a woman to sit with her in the waiting room, as I went inside. I stayed with Mateo as the medical staff prepared his body, did all the paperwork, transported him to the morgue and said goodbyes for all of us. She felt comfort in knowing that I stayed with him and made sure he received the respect he deserved. They buried him in his white school uniform.

The first time I met Mateo and his mother, she hugged me and said "Thanks for coming... we are all alone and have no one else". Since starting our work with HIV patients in May, this was our 5th death. At times, we are providing services for up to 7 patients in the hospital and 5 patients or families at the house. None of these are easy, but through your support we are able to continue our work and provide hope and comfort to patients so they do not have to go through this alone. Thank you.

Garry Vatcher, Director, Hogar de Esperanza

Email: director@hogardelaesperanzaecuador.org

City: Cuenca