Meet the Patient: Isai

3Marica and her son Isai.         

Neither Marica Bacillio Lozano nor her Mother have ever lived somewhere they owned. They have always had to rent small homes in poor districts in Lima, Peru. Despite barely scraping by most of the time, Marica said that “we were always moving forward.”

          Marica married and had two kids, eventually moving into her own rented home in Manzana A, Via El Salvador. Her family was poor, but they scraped by with the informal work they did as cobradors, collecting fares from people of public transit. Then Marica had her third child, Isaic, and things changed forever; “the way isaic was born. Things are more complicated now,” Marica said.

          Isai was born with a cleft palate, webbed feet and hands as well as mental retardation. When Marica first found out, all she could do was cry in the hospital. Fortunately, Isai has developed better than was expected. At age 5 he recently began sitting, walking, and speaking. He has even been able to join a normal kindergarten classroom.  “Thank god he started walking,” Marica said.  “He can be a little independent now. I can leave him alone for a little and he can play.” Before, someone had to have their eye on him constantly.

         Although she still sometimes has to excuse herself and cry in the bathroom while she is on a hospital visit with Isai, she loves her son and has dedicated herself completely to trying to provide a good life for Isai and her other two children.

         But it hasn’t been easy, and now her family has been stretched to the breaking point. With Isai came a litany of other expenses; medicine, diapers, trips to the hospital, and of course the huge amount of time required to care for him properly. The families’ budget was always tight, they made money for food day to day, if there was no work avaible one day, the family often could not eat that day.

          Isai needs more foods than a normal child, when there is not enough to go around, Marica has to give more to him than her other kids. Sometimes they cry because they don’t get enough food. But even with the extra food, Isai was still diagnosed with Anemia 7.5, a condition caused by malnutrition, specifically a lack of iron. With his webbed hands many tasks are difficult, he cannot pick up small objects well, he has trouble pulling up his pants.

1Isai holding a ball. Picking up small objects is difficult for him because of his webbed hands.

          With all of this, the family could not keep up with rent anymore. They had to move into a house with family members, and split the rent. There are now 3 families and a total of 14 people living in the house with 4 rooms. To make matters worse, the landlords of the home are now carrying out a repossession, and everyone has to be out in two weeks. “We don’t know where to go,” Marica said.

          Marica has had trouble getting Isai the treatment he needs. “I’m embarrassed I missed an appointment,” Marica said. “But what can I say, I have three kids.” When she managed to get Isai to the hospital, she said she often faces discrimination- even in emergencies. Once she brought Isai to the hospital because had a high fever that was causing convulsions, she was forced to wait much longer than anyone else. When she complained, one nurse told her that “all kids are not the same.”

          After struggling for years and making little progress getting Isai treatment in the public health system, she jumped at the opportunity to take her son to a Mobile Clinic in 2015. MEDLIFE is now helping her navigate the hospital system and get Isai the treatment he needs. MEDLIFE is also helping with the costs of caring for Isai, like buying diapers, so Marica does not need to choose between paying for Isai’s expenes and feeding her family. Our nurses will continue visiting and supporting the family until Isai has gotten the treatment he needs.

2Marica holds her son while MEDLIFE nurse Beatriz purchases diapers and medicine for them.



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.