Hello Doctor, my name is Kylie and I am a student from Virginia. I have been partaking in mission trips to Honduras for the past four years and I met a little boy I wanted to ask someone about. I met him in July of 2013. He lives in a remote village in the mountains of Honduras with his single mother. His liver is failing. His stomach is severely swollen, his skin is tinted yellow, and his hair red. I went back this past March to check on him again only to find that his condition is deteriorating. I am in direct contact with his doctor and his mother. They gave me all of his medical history forms and social security information. The doctor concluded that the young boy needs a liver transplant to live. However, they do not have those kinds of resources in Honduras. They only have resources to maintain the new liver after transplantation. Money will not be an issue seeing as plenty of organizations are willing to help them pay, but my question is what can we possibly do to get him the treatment he needs? I know the fact that he is from a different country and in need of a transplant makes it difficult, but if there is any advice you have for me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
Hi KylieRussell1 -
thank you for your email - first, I'd like to say thank you for volunteering on mission trips and for your making the effort to help this child and family. As you recognize, it is very difficult to deliver high tech care in low tech environments. It is doubtful that this child would have access to proper care post transplant in Honduras but it is possible. Many hospitals (including my own Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) have international medicine departments to assist in the logistics of bringing children to the US for treatment but as you say payment is a problem not only for the treatment but for travel, local lodging, etc., etc. You might like to look at various pediatric liver transplant programs and find contact information for the international medicine office. The office can often have the child's medical records reviewed to determine if transplant (potentially from a live donor) or other treatment might be possible and if there is any way to bring the child to the United States. The hospital could then provide a cost estimate; for international patients hospitals will usually require some payment in advance (or at least placed in an escrow account to be used as needed).
This is certainly a sad and difficult situation medically and in other respects.
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