Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dying For Lack Of Care

A few days ago, I was at the main children's hospital in El Salvador, Benjamin Bloom Children's Hospital, taking another few hundred pictures of sick children that the paper would not print, even though I was on assignment.
After I was finished, some women approached and asked for my help. It turns out that there are a number of children in the hospital who have had intestinal resection surgery, i.e., a large part of their intestines were cut out.

Here are three of the children.

The scars on Daniel's chest are from infections from the IV that he must constantly wear.

The hospital cannot provide even near full time care, even though the children are all under 1 year old, so the mothers have to stay in the hospital. And, of course, the mother's can't work, and………big surprise………. the husbands are out of the picture. The hospital is also threatening to cut off more essential care, i.e., pretty much everything. The children cannot eat solid food, and total liquid nutrition costs a great deal. The hospital has said that only 1 child of these three are eligible for surgery, and unless someone ponies up $300,000 even he won't get the transplant. The likelihood that these three children will live throughout the year, without additional care, is very low. This is why the women approached me, to help get attention for their children's cases.

The bag hanging in this photo contains the liquid total nutrition that she will be fed (by tube, directly into her stomach), for the rest of her life, if she does not receive help. In the background is a bible her mother preys from.

I see the daily headlines here have just come out, and they are all about the ex-president of Guatemala (Alfonso Portillo) being extradited from Mexico back to Guatemala on corruption charges. He embezzled around 16 million dollars (that they know of). There was also some news about Amy Winehouse and drugs, and some cops that were arrested today for helping drug smugglers.
So because of more corruption in Guatemala, some fucked up English singer's drug problem, and dirty cops, these kids have been relegated to the backwaters of the news today.

1 comment:

aighmeigh said...

Absolutely heartbreaking.