‘Crooked Arm’ was the name Kim-kim’s classmates called him in the schoolyard. It was an unsurprising nickname – the six-year old’s dislocated elbow hung at an obvious and uncomfortable angle. The bullying didn’t stop with name calling; unable to defend himself, Kim-kim was pushed around and roughed up in the schoolyard as well. It got so bad that the little boy didn’t want to go to school. His parents, Aisa and Jovie, desperately wanted their son to be cured, but Jovie’s wages as a farmer’s helper only total US$33.33 (PHP1,500) a month. Like all of the families ICM works with, this meant Jovie had a daily struggle to provide even the most basic necessities for his family of four.
Medical treatment was an additional cost this family did not have the funds for. The small US$3.33 (PHP150) amount that Aisa and Jovie saved to provide medical care for their child covered the cost of the journey to the hospital and one X-ray. Doctors diagnosed the dislocation of his elbow and explained that surgery was needed to correct the dislocation. Jovie and Aisa were despondent. They would never be able to raise the sum it would take to cure their son.
Their pastor, an ICM program pastor, referred the family to ICM’s Special Medical Case (SMC) program. Kim-kim was accepted into the program and on October 26, 2016, Kim-kim had his corrective surgery, marking the beginning of his journey of hope. His late November follow-up visit showed good improvement. To make sure Kim-kim fully recovers, ICM also approved funds for physiotherapy sessions that will restore his arm to its proper movement and function. Kim-kim has now returned to school and is able to stretch his arms open wide – full of confidence and free of pain. In his own words:
“I’m very happy that I can now move my both arms. I am not shy anymore. After my surgery I can participate well in all of my school activities, my friends and teachers are happy seeing me doing things like what other children did. And I’m no more alone. All my old friends invite me to play. I help my mother in washing dishes on weekends and she is happy every time I help her. Thank you for your help.”
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 and Helen Carruthers, ICM Volunteers and Krishiel Ferenal, RN, National Health Services Officer, ICM