On Monday afternoon, March 21, 2011, I was in my office when Pastor Henry Cabrera, the HVO Chaplain came by my office in a hurry. “Can I borrow the hospital truck to go pick up Marta?” he asked. “There has been some sort of explosion and her grandson is in the emergency room.”
“Of course,” I answered. “Go get her.”
He was talking about Marta Aguinda, who works in the HVO Guest House, which is about ¼ mile away from the hospital. It was 3 pm, so I told him that he should look for her on the road because she was probably on her way home.
I went to the ER a few minutes later. Marta and Pastor Henry had just arrived. There were two of Marta grandsons, not just one. Apparently, they had been playing behind the house, found something like dynamite, lit a match to it and it exploded. I found out that one boy, Justin (age 7), had lost both his hands in the explosion, and had some damage to his eyes. The other boy, Aron (age 5), was also injured, but not as badly.
I arrived just in time to see Justin wheeled rapidly out of the ER, heading for surgery. I left the ER and went into Pastor Henry’s office. We spent some time crying and praying.
Marta’s two daughters, the mothers of the boys, both have part-time unsteady work. One is a single mom, and the husband of the other is a bricklayer who also has part-time unsteady work. They all live with Marta, who is the only one who has a full-time job, her job at the Guest House. To make things worse, Marta was out of work the entire month of February with back problems, and has had to take out a loan to pay those bills, most of which were at another hospital, since we don’t provide the services that she needed.
It has now been over three weeks since the accident, and both boys have been released from the hospital. Aron will recover completely, but Justin will need follow-up care. It appears that one eye will recover just fine, but the other one will require more surgery before it is known how well it will recover. Because of the surgeries, and the follow-up care that will be required, their bills are close to $5,000. The hospital has a charity fund that can help in cases like this, but the funds are limited. Several people have already contributed to the fund in the name of this family.
Obviously, we can’t change what happened. But it is good to know that through the donations of faithful people, Hospital Vozandes del Oriente can make a difference in lives.