Saturday, July 23, 2011

More on Benigno

We were all sitting around the breakfast table this morning.  Most of us tired – not of us not sleeping well because we are worried about Benigno’s family (see previous blog).
 We were talking about this this morning – and how could it be that he could have been so sick and no one knew.  Because I did find out that no one knew!

 Apparently he felt a great pain in his abdomen (solar plexus area) early evening on Wednesday the 20th.  His house is way down the road from the ‘center’ of town.  (We’re talking 20 families in this community).  He made his way up to his sister’s house and couldn’t go any further.  They called a friend and waited for transportation to get him to the hospital in Santiago de Maria and that come quite late.  He was given something for the pain, but they only did simple exams. 

 The sad reality here is if you have no financial resource, that’s all you get: a basic exam. For example: an older woman came out of her exam with one of the doctors of the Newton Medical Delegation last March and was quite emotional.  She said that this was the first time she was ever actually touched by a doctor.  In all her years – her exams have been words only:  “How are you?  You have a pain where?  Ah … take this prescription to the pharmacy and buy …” 

Ok.  That is over-simplifying the exam I’m sure.  I hope.  And I have hopes that not all public servant doctors are like this, but I have heard it over and over from several people: that without financial resources, that is pretty much all you get.  Period.

So there are many people who don’t bother to go to the doctor for every little ache or pain.  They ride it out.  They ignore it.  They live with it.  Because in reality, what could you do about it?  If you have cancer, or lung disease, or kidney disease or whatever – you can’t afford the medicines.  You can’t afford the operation.  So why bother to know. 

After the internment yesterday we were talking to some of the family and we were told that they were told that ex-rays showed his lungs were basically ‘dead’ and non-functioning.  He ended up in a larger hospital in San Miguel and died there.  The family might never know what was wrong with him.  But it is possible he was riddled with cancer and never knew it. 

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