A Long Road to Recovery for Maura

It was an unremarkable day. Maura was driving her Moto-taxi up the steep dirt roads of Villa Maria Trufino in Lima, Peru, with her son and his teacher in the back seat when a stray dog jumped in front of her car and caused a crash, catapulting her out of the roof of her car.

That was in November of 2011- in March of 2016 Maura has a large metal apparatus sticking out of her right leg with 6 spikes puncturing her skin and going right into her bone. MEDLIFE nurse Carmen had come to check up on her, and bring her gauze, saline water and disinfectant to clean her leg. 



The apparatus is designed to finally force her bones into alignment and unity after five long years of being broken. Maura may not have been able to walk since 2011, but she is still moving forward on the long path to recovery.

The car crash destroyed her leg, breaking her bones and tearing her skin, she needed surgery.  While she was able to get an operation through the public health system- the surgery left her worse off than when she started. Maura was the victim of medical malpractice (the story of which is detailed in this post), her doctor incorrectly performed the operation and left her with detached bones in her leg and a loose bolt. She no longer had insurance she could fall back on and use.

This is how MEDLIFE found Maura, and promptly got her the first of two surgeries she needs.

6Maura in the hospital after her surgery in 2016.

7The nurses pointing in shock at the long trek up the dirt path from the road to Maura’s home.


Now, she is waiting for a specially designed plate for her next surgery that the doctor will put in to finally connect her two bones.

It has been three months of waiting for the second surgery, but it cannot be done without the plate, which must be manufactured specially for her case outside of Peru and imported. Maura’s home is high in the hills of Via Maria, it would be too hard for her to live up there while recovering, even with the staircase MEDLIFE built to give her better access to her house.

Her niece and ex-husband have been supporting her by renting her a room at the bottom of the hill. She still has to look after her three-year-old son Angel while recovering, who as we were visiting dropped bread on the ground and ten proceeded to knock everything of off the nightstand. The walls are covered in crayon streaks, which Angel had colored when Maura was in the shower one time.



Maura didn’t get upset, she remained calm, light, her demeanor betrays little of the hardships of the past five years. She just laughed and calmly convinced Angel to pick the things up. Even though caring for a three year old while she is crippled is hard, Maura says that Angel is more of a help than a burden.

“Angel is my helper. Even though he is a child he understands, he always helps me,” Maura said. “He gives me the strength to go out. I was depressed, but I have to keep moving forward with my life for him.”

Soon, Maura will get the operation she needs to begin walking again and move forward with her life. Until, then, MEDLIFE will continue supporting her. 


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.