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Carmen from Guatemala raised $1,016 for malnutrition treatment and formula.

Carmen
100%
  • $1,016 raised, $0 to go
$1,016
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Carmen's treatment was fully funded on August 18, 2016.
February 27, 2017

Carmen sadly and unexpectedly passed away during treatment.

We are deeply saddened to report that Carmen caught a severe case of pneumonia after a couple months of treatment for acute malnutrition. Our medical partner is now working with the local community to strengthen the emergency response system and make sure patients and their families have a way to call authorities in case of a similar emergency.

We are committed to reporting all outcomes transparently—even the ones we wish were different. Thank you so much for your support of Carmen and her family.

We are deeply saddened to report that Carmen caught a severe case of pneumonia after a couple months of treatment for acute malnutrition. Ou...

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July 13, 2016

Carmen was born on July 9, 2016 in Guatemala. Unfortunately, her mother had complications with the placenta, and she lost so much blood that she passed away shortly after giving birth.

Since she was giving birth at home in a mountainous and incredibly rural area, no medical help was available to her until she had already passed. After asking around the community to see if there were other mothers that could breast milk and coming up short, Carmen’s father contacted our staff to see if there was support he could receive for his daughter.

Carmen is the youngest of 10 children. They live in a one-room home made of cinderblocks with a tin roof. Her father works as a day laborer, making a few dollars per day that he uses to buy food for his children. Unfortunately, formula costs more than his salary, making it impossible for him to afford this life-saving treatment for his daughter.

Although Carmen’s case is serious and life-threatening, treatment is simple. For $1,016, we can provide Carmen with formula that will give her all the protein, calories, and nutrients she needs to be healthy and strong. Carmen’s father and her other caregivers will also receive nutritional education to prevent future malnutrition.

With our help, Carmen’s father will no longer have to live with the stress of not being able to feed his daughter on top of grieving the loss of his wife.

“My hope is that my daughter grows healthy and active, I am appreciative for the support that she will get,” Carmen’s father said.

Carmen was born on July 9, 2016 in Guatemala. Unfortunately, her mother had complications with the placenta, and she lost so much blood that...

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Carmen's Timeline

  • July 13, 2016
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

    Carmen was submitted by Jessica Hawkins at Wuqu’ Kawoq, our medical partner in Guatemala.

  • July 13, 2016
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Carmen received treatment at Clinic Tecpán. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • August 09, 2016
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Carmen's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 18, 2016
    FULLY FUNDED

    Carmen's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 27, 2017
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    We received an update on Carmen. Read the update.

Funded by 22 donors

Funded by 22 donors

Treatment
Lactational Failure
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Babies without access to maternal milk typically lose weight to the point of being acutely malnourished. They are at risk of seizures due to imbalances in their electrolytes, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage. Their immune systems are weak and they are dehydrated, meaning they can easily come down with diarrhea, which is life-threatening for an acutely malnourished baby. Sometimes babies appear chubby and bloated due to being fed sugar water or cow's milk. Babies often cry more than normal due to their chronic hunger.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

For a newborn baby, access to maternal milk is critical. If milk supply is poor, the baby will begin to lose weight. This almost immediately begins to have impact on potential brain development and, if it is not caught quickly and reversed, it can lead to death or permanent brain damage.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

In the United States, substitute milk formulas are readily available and usually fairly inexpensive. However, in Guatemala, milk formula is unbelievably expensive. For example, to provide an adequate amount of milk to a newborn baby can easily cost more on a month to month basis than a poor family makes in total household wages. Therefore, caregivers of these children are caught in an impossible bind, where they couldn’t provide for their children even if they spent every last cent they could get their hands on.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

Caregivers of babies enrolled in this program receive intensive counselling on how to properly prepare and mix infant formula. They receive weekly or every other week check-in to make sure that weight is recovering. They receive 12 months of guaranteed access to infant formula, free of charge. We usually will provide a “final update” about the child long before the 12 month mark, usually after 1-3 months, when it is clear that a full recovery has occurred.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

This treatment saves lives and it saves brains. It prevents babies from dying from dehydration or acute malnutrition. And it promotes normal growth of the brain, guaranteeing that children have a chance to lead normal and highly functional lives at their full potential.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable. Nearly 100% of children will experience major improvements in energy and weight, usually with in the first week. When caught early and properly treated, the poor health consequences of lactational failure can be totally reversed.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

This treatment is not accessible at all in the locations in which we work. It is incredibly expensive (one tin that lasts a week often costs more than a typical monthly household income), meaning families have no way to pay for it. By helping families afford milk formula, we overcome this problem.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no real alternatives to our program. Many organizations and governmental entities will provide small amounts of milk formula, but never in a quantity sufficient to guarantee a thriving child.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.