Romania Day 4 2014
Romania has a social health insurance system, but one needs a government health insurance card to receive medical services. If one does not pay into the Government Health Insurance fund (salary tax or individual contributions), they are denied medical services unless they go to the ER.
Cristian and Emanuel are two children from Botosani whose mother, Sidonia Borcoi, says she can’t afford to offer them proper medical care. She’s not employed and she uses her children’s government paid allowance to keep her small apartment month to month.
For close to 12 years now this mother has been coming to see the American doctors to check her boys’ health and receive medication. Her youngest, Cristian, was born in 2004 (Medical Missions Foundation’s 3rd mission in Romania), and he’s always been seen by the American doctors. According to their mom, these boys only get medical services when Medical Missions Foundation comes to town.
The mother first met the Medical Missions Foundation doctors in 2002, when her oldest, Emanuel, was only two years old. She came to an appointment concerned that the baby’s skull bone was misshaped. After a thorough consultation, the Medical Missions Foundation doctors assured Sidonia that the baby would develop normally and in the off-case that wouldn’t happen, Medical Missions Foundation would perform the complex procedure to fix it. “They told me to be patient. I was afraid, but I have no regrets. Now I have total faith in them” says Sidonia looking proudly at her children.
“I have no money to take them to the clinic to be checked, so the American help is a blessing. I’ve known them for many years and each time they are so kind, they give my kids pills, vitamins, and all kinds of treatments that have helped the to grow beautifully, as you see them “- the woman said.
Dr. Jane Jenab performed the consults on these two boys (and their mother). She diagnosed them with mild anemia as well as intestinal parasites.
“The situation of these two boys is part of the reason why we come to Romania year after year. We’re here to help people who need our presence and who would otherwise be in danger of not receiving any medical treatment” says Laura Conde, this year’s mission coordinator.
Sara is a girl whose eyes show a grown-up sadness when one meets her for the first time. She is undoubtedly beautiful, in the most compelling way. Last year in June, the girl arrived at the hospital in shock, with burns on 50% of her face and body. An apparently normal day turned into a nightmare after a pressure cooker exploded on the stove and the hot contents scalded her from head to toe. Her mother says that the girl did not even have the strength to scream. After hearing the explosion, Sara’s mother ran to the kitchen and found the little girl unresponsive. “I was frightened not only about what happened, but the condition she was in. I will never forget ” says her mother, fighting back tears.
She thought she had nothing to lose if she showed up at a consultation, hoping that the American doctors would be able to erase some trace of the trauma the girl suffered. With big hope in her heart, she came to the Children’s hospital and found out that there is a possibility: steroid injections. The girl was scheduled for this medical procedure today. For more than two hours, the doctors injected steroids in the scars.
Sara, Cristian, and Emanuel are examples of the thousands of children that the Medical Missions Foundation volunteers have treated over 14 years of presence in Botosani. Today ended with 6 more surgeries at the Children’s Hospital, other 3 in the Adult Hospital and clinic consultations continued. The 2014 mission is not complete, yet. Tomorrow will be another day in which other people’s lives will be changed by the “angels” of Medical Missions Foundation.
Dumitru Calinescu & Laura Conde
Photos by David F. McKinney ©2014