Skip to main content

If You're Poor and Get Sick, You're Screwed.

I just got back from the Public Health Center and am feeling sick to my stomach. It's not that I had some bad meat for lunch, I'm sickened about health care for the poor in Paraguay. Our neighbor had a varicose vein hemorrhage which was squirting out blood like a hose.  Her daughter and husband ran to our house for help and I told her husband that I'd take her to a private clinic. 

He insisted that I take her to the public health center.  With the years of (bad) experiences I have had with public health centers, I knew that it would be a waste of time, because they have few supplies and very rarely is the doctor in.  Nonetheless, he wanted to go there because it's very cheap.  I complied and just as was expected, no doctor and no supplies.

We ran her into the emergency room and the nurses sat her on the operating table and just looked at each other.  They didn't even have bandages!  They applied pressure to her gushing vein with her own dirty towel and then they wrote down her name and document number and released her. I said to the two nurses on duty, "That's it!  You can't even give her some gauze???"  They said they didn't have any supplies to offer us.  While I cleaned her bloody flip flops they wheeled her out to my car.  At least they had a wheelchair.  Sheesh.  Good thing I knew this was coming, or I'd be fuming.

I quickly took my bleeding neighbor to a private clinic and they applied clean bandages and made her lie down for about an hour before we went home.  They charged me $3.00.

I just got more medical supplies from the last work camp than the center has that serves the medical needs of the poor for our entire town.


I continue to ask God what I should do about this, it grieves me to no end to think that if you're poor and you get sick in Paraguay you will just die.


  1. So true! We could write a sister blog about our experiences in Mexico - all the scarier when our own son needs open heart surgery and if the Lord does not open a door in the U.S. for his surgery done free of charge, then we will have to face open heart surgery in Mexico!

    Julie Zaragoza

  2. It saddens me a lot because that is very true.
    Mama Chang~

  3. Heartbreaking and unfathomable...if we wouldn't have seen it with our own eyes...

  4. Este es un blog mucho más que instructivo. Paraguay e Itapua, aunque vivo en Asunción. Good for u blog. Regard

  5. Hola, testing from Montecarlo


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

September highlights. A month in Paraguay

I want to thank you for hanging out with us this past month. Every day was different. Sometimes I wish I had more of a routine. But in my missionary role, routine is not something I experience very often. Here are a few September highlights.

We traveled to Asuncion, to get some paperwork done. The trip to Asuncion generally takes six hours on a two lane road, with crazy traffic. We avoid these trips as much as possible. 

I was part of a Baptism ceremony in the Parana River. 28 people made a public commitment. The Parana Rive is the second one in size after the Amazon River.

I had a chance to continue my bible teaching at our local church on Tuesday evenings. I fill in various classes and find teaching very rewarding.
We celebrated Anahi’s 6th birthday with our immediate family. Anahi is finishing her preschool and will start first great next year

We celebrated Dominick’s 4th month. He also got his shots last week. Dominick has occupied the center of attention. He has been a great joy for …

A day like today, five years ago

April 17, 2012 was another normal busy ministry day, just like today. I spend half of that day with a group of pastors and leaders. In the afternoon, I went to pick up some documents for Anahi, in the city of Encarnacion, about an hour from our home.

We were working on a side walk for our house, so at about 4 pm I took Timothy and Anahi with me to get some supplies before our trip the next day.

That evening Julie made pizza. I played with Timothy for about an hour with the new toy we had both created. I kissed my boy good night, and prepared some stuff for the trip we were going to make next morning very early towards Asuncion.

Life was good, we were in the midst of great projects with the church, we were also serving at the radio station and managing the new bible training bi vocational center we had created the year before.

Neither one of us had the fog-est idea that this would be our last day together as a family of four, our last dinner, our last time to say goodnight and to look …