It has been a very hard couple of days in Pana, and unfortunately we have sad news to report today: Sunday morning, we got the phone call that we had been dreading–Elyda had passed away.
Dr. Escobar and his staff at the clinic did everything they could, performing two risky surgeries and working around the clock to give Elyda the best possible chance, but in the end the damage to her body was just too severe. There hasn’t been an appropriate time to ask the family, and we haven’t had a chance to speak with the doctor, so we can’t say exactly what went wrong medically.
But whatever it was that ultimately caused her death, there is no doubt as to what ended her life: medical malpractice. The mistakes of the first doctor caused Elyda to lose her unborn baby, left her with a colostomy bag that she shouldn’t have needed, and left her abdominal cavity filling up with bile because of an incorrectly placed drain. Instead of helping her recover from this terrible surgery, the doctor sent her home the next day (instead of waiting the standard minimum of four days after this type of operation). He didn’t give her the broad spectrum antibiotics that she needed to prevent infection. He didn’t admit that anything had gone wrong, nor did he give her family an accurate sense of how severe her condition was. He was quite clear on one thing, though–the price. By the time Elyda left this doctor’s care, Marco had borrowed over Q50,000 (~$6,330–a fortune in Guatemala) to pay the man who had done this to his wife.
There isn’t any silver lining in this story–what happened to Elyda and her family is terrible, and nothing else. All we can do now is to make sure that it doesn’t go unnoticed. Though it may prove impossible, we’ll talk to a lawyer about taking action against the doctor. We’ll keep writing about Elyda and her family, and we’ll ask for help as they try to recover from this tragedy that has devastated them both emotionally and financially. Please keep this family in your thoughts, and help them if you can. Marco will need help handling the massive debts that he took on to try to save his wife, and he’ll need the help of a sponsor to keep Josias in school next year.
To help pay for Elyda’s care, click here. Scroll down to the box that says “Family Aid,” enter in the amount, and write “FA 45″ in the Family Name box. To sponsor Josias for school next year, click here and write “Elyda’s Son Josias Sponsorship” in the box marked “Desc” under “Other Programs,” and enter the amount as $180. You can read more about Mayan Families’ school sponsorship program here.