Friday, December 4, 2009

August 2009 - Return to San Cristobal, Chiapas

In August of 2009, I returned to San Cristóbal bringing medical supplies and to assist Sergio Castro with his humanitarian work. The month of August is beautiful in San Cristóbal with its plants blooming and the afternoon showers. I find Sergio, as before, with many patients, few supplies and his getting by on minimal funds. Tourism is down in all of Mexico (economy and H1N1) and more so in San Cristóbal - since it is harder to get here. Hence, visitor volume to his museo is down significantly.

Our daily rounds include an indigenous man with a burn to the front part of his left leg with mid-deep dermal (2nd - 3rdº burn). Imbibing too much posh he fell asleep by the fire... he has since discontinued his alcohol consumption. The hospital initially cared for his wound and sent him home with no follow-up aftercare. We visit this man every other day. We also see a middle-aged woman with poorly controlled epilepsy that fell into a cooking fire during an episode. The left buttock suffered a larger area of mid dermal 2ndº burn. She is in severe pain during our bandage change and she has to mentally prepare herself for our visits. Some days she cannot muster the strength to endure the pain.

Sergio uses the minimum of supplies and pain medication is out of the question. He has none, nor access to anything adequate to lessen the discomfort the patients experience.

Another house calls includes the indigenous man who burned the back of his right leg severely in December '08. This long-term care of severe burns is typical. This man will have life-long disability but it will not prevent him from working in his field. There are several other patients that I won't list and if interested click here see my most recent powerpoint.

Sergio hired a driver from Chamula that comes dily to drive him to his house calls. He pays him weekly or when ever he can. Sadly, Marcos, the driver we had in April has died unexpectedly and suddenly. From what I can make out, he complained of stomach pain and never saw a doctor. He then started vomiting blood and bled to death. The family took him to a "curandero" (spiritual medicine-man/quasi-shaman) and he died in a short period of time. From the story I'm guessing he bled to death from a stomach ulcer or possibly esophageal varices. Regardless, a sad demise as he was in his mid 30s. His brother, Mariano, has now taken the task of driving Sergio around.

My cousin Roy came for a visit my second week there and he brought with him more medical supplies from a company called MedShare. With a $75 donation my cousin was able to pack 50 pounsa of medical supplies and to my joy it appeared to have a street value of over $1000. Fortunately the airlines did not charge him extra for this load.

To see the clinical photos of this latest visit in powerpoint presentation format click here.