Patient Story: Daniela Chimbo


On the third day of clinic in Tena, Ecuador, an older woman walked in to the doctors’ station with a crying child. The little girl’s name is Daniela Belen Grefa Chimbo and she is one year old. The older woman, whom we later found out was the grandmother of the child, started to list off the child’s symptoms as the doctor listened attentively. The grandmother told us the little girl had diarrhea for about a week and stomach pain. These are two common symptoms for illnesses commonly diagnosed in the jungle of Tena, Ecuador, where parasites are common. Yet, this case wasn’t as simple as the common ones of the region.

For further examination, Daniela was put on the patient bed where the doctor palpitated her stomach. The girl began to cry uncontrollably, but no tears came out. The doctor Daniel told the volunteers shadowing him that she was completely dehydrated. He asked the volunteers if they knew how he diagnoses that just by looking at her. The volunteers gave him blank looks, until the doctor told them he could tell because she was crying, yet no tears came down. As he explained that he touched her cheeks and realized how completely dry they were. He asked me to get Martha Chicaiza, the director of Ecuador, for immediate follow up. I brought Martha to the doctors’ station where the doctor asked if she could take the child right away to the health center to get rehydrated.

Martha walked the child all the way to the center since no car was to be found in the jungle region. The girl was taken to the clinic and was rehydrated with IV fluids immediately. When Martha returned late that day from the health post, she told us that they found that Daniela had an advanced dehydration. Luckily they were able to rehydrate her quickly in the health center. She explained to us that this girl was under the care of her grandmother since her parents live in Puyo, a larger city where her parents had to move to work.

Now, the little girl has recovered well. Since the visit to the health post, we have called her grandmother to follow up on her health condition. It has been hard for MEDLIFE staff to communicate with them, since they live in a community where there is no signal or telephone service. After multiple tries, MEDLIFE staff was able to communicate with the grandmother to hear that she is now stable, and although she is underweight she is now being fed properly and on the road to recovery.

Cristina Salvador is a MEDLIFE summer intern.


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.