Seeing Meri’s devotion to her patients in the field, it’s hard to imagine her anywhere else. But before she became a nurse, her interests revolved around a very different field — sports journalism. As a child, she recalls, she always enjoyed reading and writing stories. At just fifteen she became one of the first female sports reporters in her area. While still in school, she spent her free time traveling all over the country to interview players and broadcast radio reports about various sports events.
Today she brings that same focused determination to her work as MEDLIFE’s field nurse. She began her nursing career working in an ambulance service. There, she says, “I saw up close people torn apart by pain, who were just scraping by in life, and sometimes I also saw the indifference of some professionals.”
As the years passed, new interests developed and Meri began to work for the Ministry of Health. In her position as a promotora, or health promoter, she provided education around public health issues to poor settlements far outside the urban center of Lima. She went from house to house to distribute information about preventive care and treatment.
That experience brought her to MEDLIFE, where today she manages follow-up care for our Mobile Clinic patients, often going far beyond just medical attention. Meri knows each patient and their family personally. She travels all over Lima to visit their homes and accompany them to doctors’ appointments.
“We bring each patient the warmth and love of a family who cares for them,” she says. One such patient is Eloy Britto, a seven-year old with a congenital heart defect that keeps him from participating in the normal activities of a child his age. For his birthday, Meri took him and his brothers on a rare outing to the park, and, she says, “he was like a bird with new wings.” The park lent them a wheelchair, and with it Eloy and Meri were able to “run” alongside his brothers, chase the birds and eat cotton candy. It was an unforgettable experience for Eloy, who sometimes can’t even go to school because walking makes him short of breath. When the day was over, says Meri, he cried because he didn’t want to leave, and she promised to come see him again.
For Meri, giving patients the hope of a brighter future is the most important part of her job. “MEDLIFE is like a guardian angel for every patient, helping them in their physical, emotional and social recovery, and letting them know that even if it rains today, tomorrow there will be sun.”