Part of our mission to bring our Mobile Clinics directly to the poor is our goal to seek out those most in need of medical attention, as well as to help prevent cancer, diabetes and other terminal illnesses. Below, a story about a boy who came to us in August of 2012 with a potentially cancer-causing condition. Written by Martha Chicaiza and translated by Brenda Bravo:
In the rural community of La Merced, located just outside of the city of Riobamba, Ecuador, a child in need came to a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic for help. JosÃ© Francisco Guacho was born with cryptorchidism — a condition where the testes do not descend into the scrotum. The ten-year-old fifth grader is the fifth of six brothers and lives in extreme poverty; the family survives solely on his father’s meager earnings as a loader. Despite his medical problem, his mother describes him as an enthusiatic and very loving child.
Doctors at the Mobile Clinic examined the boy and decided that surgery would be the only way to correct the problematic condition; undescended testes are associated with reduced fertility, increased risk of testicular cancer and psychological problems when the boy gets older. As is common among the rural populations we serve, his family strongly opposed a visit to the hospital. His mother was especially skeptical about accepting any help for her son. Friends in her community had told her that as her son developed, his testicles would eventually move to the correct place, and she believed this to be true despite the fact that they still hadn’t done so in ten years. MEDLIFE persisted in seeking the boy medical attention and eventually, after much effort and reasoning, obtained his family’s consent. Since then, our patient follow-up coordinator, Maria Chavez, has taken the boy to several appointments at the Hospital General Docente in Riobamba. After examining the patient, the doctor ordered several laboratory tests and determined that the boy was in adequate condition for a surgery that should happen immediately. It was also noted that without this surgery Francisco could develop cancer around the age of 30.
After fifteen days of reflection, Francisco’s parents contacted MEDLIFE to say that they wanted to go forward with the surgery. They expressed gratitude to the organization for covering the cost that they would never be able to afford and scheduled the child’s operation to be performed on October 23, 2012. MEDLIFE will coordinate hospital visits and accompany them every step of the way to ensure that they are fully supported until the child can go back to his normal activities.