Archive for April, 2011
This past week Lefi, a 17 month old, died of malnutrition complicated by infection. Lefi had been inpatient at the Lospalos hospital earlier this year for severe malnutrition. For some reason, she was not gaining significant weight, but she was discharged anyway. Knowing that our Clinic, Imanuel, serves food daily to malnourished kids (and occassionally adults), the Hospital’s malnutrition program chief asked us if the patient could come at eat at our clinic regularly. Of Course! we said.
Lefi’s mom brought her only one or two times in March. Then, April 5, she brought Lefi in, and Lefi looked like a Raggedy Ann doll in her mother’s arms. Oversized clothes on a stick-figure pale doll, with open, but vacant eyes already. I examined her on the table, and her swollen belly and skin-hung bones had little energy left to let out a weak cry.
One of the clinic staff escorted Lefi and her mom to the hospital immediately. But, Lefi died that night in the hospital. She weighed 6 kilos at 17 months, and had a long struggle with starvation in her short life.
Who can be blamed when a child starves to death in the world? I ask this: who is without responsibility?
When we keep ourselves distant from suffering, we can delude ourselves into thinking we are not responsible in the least for a starving child on the other side of the world. But when poverty, lack of education and lack of resources exists anywhere, none of us are truly free.
Please hold a moment for the families of Lefi and also Marsilia, a 14 year old girl who died on April 1 of suspected lymphoma. The huge abdominal tumor left her in kidney falure.