“Please help our child receive surgery. We want her to grow up normally, become happy and be successful in the future.”
This was Jonamie and Jeperlito’s plea for their three-year-old daughter, Jasmine.
Jasmine appeared to be a healthy seven-month-old until one day she began to vomit uncontrollably. Her parents rushed Jasmine to the hospital in their home province of Koronadal, where she immediately underwent an emergency colostomy procedure. The cost of the surgery was huge, especially for people living in poverty with no health insurance. Jeperlito, Jasmine’s father, only earns US$66.67 (PHP3,000) a month as a laborer climbing coconut trees. Jeperlito worked longer hours hoping to earn more money, but as he only earned US$0.11(PHP5) for each tree he climbed, the impoverished family had to borrow money to settle the hospital bill.
A follow-up procedure was needed to close the opening made in Jasmine’s abdomen. No matter how many more coconut trees Jeperlito climbed, the family could not afford an additional surgery to see Jasmine restored to full health. Thankfully, ICM’s Medical Mercy Fund was able to give them hope by locating a donor who was able to cover the cost of the procedure.
On September 6, 2016, Jasmine underwent her colostomy closure and was discharged nine days later. ICM’s Medical Care Coordinator continued to follow up with the family and was able to step in and help when Jasmine was admitted to the hospital again in October, suffering from pneumonia and asthma. Fortunately, after a few days, she was well enough to be discharged and returned home to finish her course of antibiotics.
Jasmine has always loved playing with her friends in the river near her home, but prior to her operation, she was not able to for fear of infection. However, because of your generosity, Jasmine is able to enjoy swimming again. Now fully recovered from the colostomy, Jasmine is looking forward to starting school next year, setting her on a path to a promising future.
In the lives of many that live on subsistent level, one medical crisis can wipe out any progress made in the fight out of poverty. ICM works with families to help them remove as many barriers to quality health care as possible. In 2015-16, ICM assisted 183 patients with surgical needs and 2,069 patients with non-surgical needs.
By Val Chan, ICM Volunteer