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MEET THE PATIENT: Karol
By Aidan Wells
Jose Galvez is a district within the Municipality of Villa Maria del Triunfo in Lima, Peru. The district is well known as the home of the largest cement factory in Peru. To reach Karol’s house required a trek which involved 3 buses, a walk along the highway across from the cement factory, and finally, a hike up the steep pathway to the house. There are no stairs, no paths, or guides on the way to Karol’s front door, only the rocky hill that leaves you breathless…literally.
From left to right: RocÃa, Karol, and MEDLIFE Nurse Janet LudeÃ±a pose for a photo in Karol’s home.
The house is clean and tidy. RocÃo, Karol’s mother, has meticulously made sure that everything is in place, well-painted, and organized. The home is humble, but comfortable. There are many photos on the wall. All of them Karol. Karol is pictured dancing; she’s pictured smiling. There’s even a photo collage of her high school graduation. “She is my only daughter,” says RocÃo.
Karol is 17 years old and currently studying Hospitality and Tourism. Her dream is to become a flight attendant. “I want to travel” she told us when we asked why she was studying Tourism. “I want to fly and get to know the world. I love nature and waterfalls. I definitely want to visit somewhere like that outside of Peru.”
RocÃa and Janet do an analysis of Karol’s socioeconomic status during the very first patient follow-up visit. This helps determine which form of health insurance Karol qualifies for.
When Karol was 10 years old she started presenting strange symptoms like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Her family took her to the Bartolome Herrera Hospital where she was diagnosed with Arrhythmia, a disease that causes abnormal heart beats, either too fast or too slow. Basically, the electrical current was not running through Karol’s heart properly. She was given enough pills to last her two months, since mild arrhythmia does not typically require intensive treatment.
Eventually Karol improved and was able to lead a normal life, until two years ago, when she began showing symptoms again. This time, however, the symptoms were much stronger. Karol would need to rest up to 6 times just to climb the last hill up to her house, and sometimes her legs would stiffen up when walking. These new symptoms left RocÃo very worried.
RocÃa, Karol, and Janet attend a specialist appointment at the doctor’s office in Villa MarÃa del Triunfo.
After another trip to the hospital, doctors told Karol that no arrhythmia was detected, and she would more specialized diagnostic tests that public health insurance would not cover.
When RocÃo heard about MEDLIFE’s mobile clinics, she did not hesitate to get Karol the medical attention she needed. The MEDLIFE doctors immediately put Karol into the patient follow-up program for more personalized attention. Janet LudeÃ±a, the MEDLIFE nurse assigned to the case, has since been able to provide not only counseling and support, but also accompany the family to Karol’s appointments to try and determine what condition is affecting her. MEDLIFE was able to provide the funds for the specialized tests, and now, we are waiting for the final diagnosis. Regardless of whether the doctors find a diagnosis of arrhythmia or something else, MEDLIFE will not hesitate to accompany and support the family throughout the entire process.
Janet and Karol discuss her medical history during their second patient follow-up-visit.