Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buying pins

Last week José knocked on my door and introduced himself. He's a farmer in one of the small communities that are part of the Suchitoto municipality, a former guerrillero and a man with eight children. One of those children, his son Geovany, had been hit by a car in June, and was in Zacamil hospital in San Salvador after being concussed and breaking both legs and an arm. José came to see me, on Sister Peggy's suggestion, because his son's legs needed to be pinned surgically and that could only happen if the family came up with $800 for the pins and rods.

This is a story I've become all too familiar with here: good hospital care and surgery is available without cost, but if healing requires any kind of medical equipment - a heart valve, interocular lenses, surgical pins, special tests, medication the hospital doesn't stock - the family will have to try to find the resources to buy what's needed. For poor families in El Salvador, like José's family, that's often completely impossible.

We were able to help José and Geovany, thanks to some generous donors, so yesterday José and I drove into the capital to make the purchase from Sistemas Biomedicas. We found the address without too much difficulty, but no one answered the doorbell in an office building that was far from the city center. Finally a man came along and explained that the company had moved down into the San Salvador medical center. He called for the address and gave us excellent and clear directions to 124 Boulevard Dr. Hector Silva. Following his directions, we found a likely street, but the street proclaimed that its name was Avenida Maria Elena. And we didn't see #124 anywhere. I drove to the Archdiocese of San Salvador office, not far away, to ask my friends there for some help. They looked up the street on the internet and gave me directions to, yes, the street apparently named Avenida Maria Elena. So we tried again, and this time we rang the bell at the building that seemed most likely to be #124, though it lacked a number, and yes, it was the new home of Sistemas Biomedicas, and yes, they could sell us the rods and pins.

Then we went to visit Geovany in the hospital, and I hoped to take a photo, but that turned out to be against hospital rules. I'll hope to include his photo when he's out of the hospital, working through his physical therapy to get back on his feet. Meanwhile, I'm glad we can help make his recovery possible, and I'm glad to know that Avenida Maria Elena really is Boulevard Dr. Hector Silva.

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