When Gail first showed us photos of 16-day old baby Carlos, we gasped. The photos showed a baby with a tiny head and large reddish growth on top of his head.
< Sonya, age 18
Gail helps registered nurse Julie Sutton operate the Hands of Mercy medical clinic with whom we sometimes collaborate. Sonya’s first baby had died last year after two days. Unfortunately there was a problem with Carlos and the hospital doctors had essentially told this 18-year old mom to take baby Carlos home to die. They explained there was nothing they could do for his severe condition. But, we all agreed, we should try to “do something”.
Greg arranged for an appointment at the Pediatric Foundation in the City and left at 6 am on the three-hour drive to Sonya’s shack in the woods. She lovingly prepared Carlos for the trip, wrapping his extra growth in gauze and a towel for the 3-hr trip to the City for a CT scan and a visit with a pediatric neurosurgeon.
The doctor showed us the scans, pointing out that 70% of the brain was outside his cranium, in a separate “ball”. “Your baby is in the hands of God”, he said, “I can’t do anything, he will die soon.”
At this unwelcome news, Sonya began to sob violently and Greg held her gently, not knowing what to say. After a few minutes the Dr. explained that this wasn’t her fault —“You can have a healthy baby. But don’t drink from the river, and take folic acid and vitamins starting right now.”
Greg drove her back to her little shack in the woods and got home at midnight, an 18-hour day with 14 hours of driving, feeling very sad and frustrated that we really didn’t, and couldn’t, “do” anything to help them.
It’s a shame, and sad, to think that with $40 of vitamins perhaps Sonya, her husband and baby Carlos could have had a normal family life. We plan to make sure that Sonya gets a water barrel and chlorine for clean water, vitamins with iron, folic acid tablets and a prescreening for any viruses before she tries to have another baby next year.