Before I get into Gabriella’s health, I want to quickly summarize my week. I have made great strides on the project, and the clinic is going very well. I was able to interview the director, which proved insightful and helpful. I’m getting better at weighing and taking height and cephalic measurements of the babies. I also made a new friend from the Netherlands! She doesn’t speak Spanish, but her English is good and my Dutch is improving as well. Just kidding, I’m not taking up another language just yet…
Now to the important stuff. Gabriella moved from Hospital Regional to the Hospital of EsSalud. This one is much better, because it is funded by the government AND specific taxes from the workers who attend it. The Regional Hospital is only general government funds, so this leaves it without the ability to remain clean and keep patients well-attended to. Here she has remained hooked up to the dialysis machine all the time, and is continuing to receive treatments. The acute kidney failure continues. Her disease is called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome; more information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemolytic-uremic_syndrome. It was caused by an E. Coli infection. The bacterial infection spread and was activated by an antibiotic that she was given in response to the diarrhea that she was experiencing early last week. It’s the most common cause of acute kidney failure in kids. It has about a 5-10% mortality rate, though the survivors rarely have serious problems following the disease. I hope and pray (and encourage you to pray) that she is part of the healthy 90-95%.
Her current situation is not very good. She has a very high blood pressure, with systolic around 157. I wasn’t told diastolic. The pressure rose yesterday morning, and they have been unable to control it. The absence of kidney function is making everything difficult. Such a high blood pressure can’t be sustained for too long, especially in a child of 3 years. If it remains unchanging, it’s likely that she will have to be brought to Lima. This would be incredibly expensive, and they would have to go to a private hospital because the public ones have all the problems of Cuzco’s Regional, but magnified because of the sheer number of patients in the metropolis. I don’t know how they would afford this, and I don’t know what would happen with the family if her condition were to worsen. I am only hoping and praying that she returns to normal health.
I was able to go to the EsSalud Hospital today to see her. She’s still herself, but she is tired and in pain. Sandro and Tania haven’t slept much in the last week; the tiredness and exasperation is really showing through in their faces and body language. I was happy to help even for a very short while today by reading Gabriella “Cat in the Hat” in Spanish. She fell asleep, which I know is a blessing to her parents.
I’m glad she is in the hospital of EsSalud, it may be the first time in Peru that I’ve felt like I was in a really legitimate health center. It’s still not exactly an American hospital, but it’s close. Here are some pictures of the hospital room and the hospital from the outside. I covered Gabriella’s face for privacy reasons.