Silverio is 17 years old. He was the 7th of 8 children. He grew up in the countryside. His parents are farmers. He had to drop out of school because his parents did not have money to pay for transportation, books and other materials he needed for public school. At the age of 15, he left his home on the farm and traveled 6 hours to the city of Sucre. He moved in with his older brother, who helped him get a job working in construction.
In January of this year, Silverio was on his way to work on his motorbike in rush-hour traffic when he was hit by a car. The driver of the car did not stop and Silverio was left lying in the street unconscious. The police were summoned and Silverio was transported to a public hospital by ambulance. A short time later, he regained consciousness and found himself on a stretcher in the hallway of a hospital. It was 9:30 am. He was told that he needed to find someone to buy suture, gauze, antibiotics and other medicines so that he could receive treatment for his leg, which was badly hurt in the accident. He called his sister to come and purchase the medicines and supplies. It took an hour and a half for her to get there by bus. So, all day, he lay on a stretcher in the hallway with a deep gash that extended from his heel to the back of his knee without receiving the treatment he needed. Finally, at 4:30 pm he was taken into a treatment room and a doctor closed the wound with suture, but it was not done well.
A few days after Silverio was discharged from the hospital, the wound completely opened. He was in tremendous pain and could not walk. He consulted with a private doctor, who told him the cost of caring for the wound in Bolivian money would be the equivalent of US $1,143, an impossible amount for someone like Silverio! His family had no way to help him financially. He lay in bed for 10 days, unable to do anything. His sister, Martha was taking care of him. She was very worried about him and mentioned the situation to a friend. The friend suggested taking him to the Mission of Hope clinic in Sucre, where everything is free.
After Silverio’s experience in the public hospital, he had his doubts about what Martha’s friend was saying. He had a hard time believing that everything would be free. Silverio came to the Mission of Hope clinic walking with great difficulty and using crutches. By now, the wound was badly infected and the tissue was breaking down. He was seen by one of our doctors who began a series of treatments to clean and close the wound. Silverio was given pain medicine and antibiotics. He was amazed to find out that everything really was free. He was also very moved by the kindness and care he received from all the medical staff. While in our clinic, Silverio also heard the Gospel message of salvation in his Quechua language and with tears in his eyes, he asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life.
Today, Silverio no longer needs crutches. The wound has completely healed. He is so very thankful for the loving care he received in our clinic. For most of us, it is hard to imagine being in a hospital emergency setting and having to obtain our own supplies before we can receive treatment. It is difficult for us to imagine a hospital emergency department that does not have gauze, suture and medicines for the patients. Yet this is very typical of Bolivian hospitals. Silverio’s story is a great illustration of why the Mission of Hope clinics in Bolivia are so important. The plight of the poor in Bolivia, with respect to health care, is dire. Patients are often turned away from hospitals because they do not have money to pay. If admitted, they often do not get the proper care simply because they are poor and do not have financial resources.
Thank you for partnering with us to serve the poor in Bolivia. Together, we are making a huge difference in the lives of our patients! We hope to see you at the 20 year anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 9th! Please don’t forget to RSVP. Thank you, and God bless you!