Surgery Amid Chaos

Once wealthy Venezuela continues its downward spiral.  The following account by Guillermo & Marcia Aguilar about one of their church leaders depicts the country’s misery.

Twenty years of rheumatoid arthritis had taken away much of 42-year-old Ana’s mobility.  Medicine being difficult to find, her pain was severe.  Doctors agreed that she needed her left hip replaced as soon as possible.  Ana was placed on the list for surgery at the public hospital.  Her mother discovered that no one had received a hip replacement through the public system in three years.  The search was on for a surgeon.

A doctor agreed to do the surgery if a hip could be purchased.   The search was on for a complete hip kit.  One was found and purchased.

Ana got the needed x-rays, blood work, and the doctor’s approval.  Then she was informed that no operating room was available in the public hospital.   The search was on to rent an uncontaminated, functioning operating room in a private clinic with working air conditioners.   One was found.  Then the machine broke, so that room was unusable.  Another operating room was found.

With the public health system in such bad shape, patients need to pay for and sometimes find the needed surgical and cleaning supplies, including the scrubs for the doctors and medication.  Each patient must find people to donate blood for the surgery as well.

Ana had surgery September 17.