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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


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