Congrats Padre Moe....50 years!

     Antoinette and I are back safely to Santa Clotilde and back to work. We continue to look forward as we plan for the future. We are lucky to have 2 new doctors, Julio and Ivette, replacing the prior physicians working in two locations on the river. After school most students are required to do one year of service, their “serum year”. Year to year we are not sure if more “serumistas” will be assigned to work in our region, and we hang in the balance every May. Also we are fortunate to have 3 serum nurses and two dentists. We also have a new midwife, Blanca who will be working with us here in Santa Clotilde. This will help lighten the load a little bit for us, but more importantly provide more care for the people on the Napo River.
Touring Lima with Padre Moe in January
   This coming Sunday marks a very important day for Padre Mauricio Schroeder, who worked in Santa Clotilde alongside Padre Jack for 20+ years as a priest physician. Padre Moe, who now does administrative work from Lima, flew home to Canada to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination where he will say mass at the same church, at the same alter, at the same time as he did for the first time 50 years ago. Thanks for your life of service to others and your guidance and friendship!

     This week Padre Jack returned from meetings in Lima to a surprise birthday party we had in the kitchen. His birthday was on 12 June and we had a nice lunch and cake along with music and dancing.   We are looking forward to working with him over the next month since he or we tend to have duties outside of Santa Clotilde and have not overlapped too much here in town since our arrival in February.

There is a lot of pneumonia and bronchiolitis going around the river and my first call last week we had 25 patients, 12 with pneumonia. All improving and most have gone home to make room for more pneumonia cases. We have one very rewarding story to share about our patient from up river, Yadiera. When I first met her, she was 1 year and 11 months old. She still was babbling and could not walk. She was not only developmentally delayed, but malnourished. Her chart in the small town of Angoteros had 19 visits and many diagnoses of difficulty breathing and “bronquitis”. During my week in Angoteros I saw her a few times and discussed with the parents the need for her to travel down to Santa Clotilde. She was first seen the week before I arrived by Dr. Juan Jon who identified a very loud murmur, after long discussion between he and I and the family, they agreed to travel outside of their town which neither parent had ever done before.  In Santa Clotilde we treated an infection and supplemented her diet while arranging an appointment with a cardiologist in Iquitos. She was diagnosed on her echo with a congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (I was wrong thinking it was a ventricular septal defect, but that is what echocardiography is for :) ). This lesion was the cause of her cardiopulmonary symptoms and her failure to grow. Again after much convincing, we arranged for Yadiera and her parents to go to Lima to the Children’s hospital for the surgery. So in summary this family who had never left their thatched roof home and surrounding community have traveled down river in a motor boat to Santa Clotilde, and then another two motor boats to get to Iquitos. Then as if being so far from home wasn’t enough they got on a plane for the first time and entered Lima with its big buildings and population of 10 million people….can you imagine how they felt? Yadiera is still in Lima and her procedure went well, she is gaining weight and her parents are happy and have adjusted to the city life and know the local bus system to get to the hospital. They should be returning soon and I am excited to see how much she has grown.

Padre Jack and Yadiera on rounds in Santa Clotilde
     When we have more serious patients that travel we have a guesthouse for them to stay in Iquitos and a nurse in Iquitos, Helita who helps with their appointments, medication, etc. We always ask the patients to pay what they can and stay with family in Iquitos if they have family there in order to lighten the financial burden. As well , we petition the local government or municipalidad to help cover some costs of travel on the boats and plane. Apart from the amount the patient and government assist with the financial burden falls on our clinic the Centro de Salud de Santa Clotilde to ensure they get the care needed. We truly appreciate all of your donations because without donors from the US and Canada we could not care adequately for our most sick patients. 

14 June 2012

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