Mobile Clinic Patient Update: Riobamba, Ecuador – August 2012


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. José 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.


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.