Sunday, September 6, 2009

Moto Death

A few entries back I wrote about the motos and how dangerous they were. A day or so ago, Marcia [my host mom who is also a nurse] and I visited an 18-year-old young man who was the brother of a man who works in the muni with me. The brother drove his moto through the glass door of a store after trying to avoid a collision with another moto, and probably after having a few drinks. His brother was on the moto with him at the time, but wasn’t hurt. The doctors the brother was originally treated by patched-up his fractured leg and gave him some medication. However, a few days later, he had started coughing up blood and vomiting. The family couldn’t afford another doctor consult so they called Marcia to come and see him.

We went to his house and at first glance he didn’t look like he was in very bad condition, uncomfortable yes, but without any obviously life-threatening wounds. His leg wasn’t even in a cast, it just had some bandaging. However, Marcia listened to his lungs and told the family that he needed to go back to the doctor soon because there was something wrong with his lungs and that he was probably getting pneumonia.

However the family just didn’t have the money to do so, even with Marcia’s warning, especially considering they were also going to have to pay to repair the broken glass door. Marcia said it would cost about 6millionG, which is about 4 months’ salary for me. In order to see a doctor you usually have to pay upfront for everything. Most people don’t have insurance.

The man didn’t see a doctor as Marcia had recommended. Unfortunately he eventually got so bad that the local hospital couldn’t help him anymore and they had to drive him the 3-4 hours to an emergency room in Asuncion. He died there sometime earlier today.

I’ve been fortunate thus far in my life to not have anyone I see on a regular basis die; I knew this man for about 15 minutes and had no emotional connection to him. Yet it is still extremely bizarre to think that a man I saw such a short time ago, living, breathing, watching tv, is dead and on his way to be buried. Gone, done, just like that. It is also strange to think about how easily he could have prevented his own death, how no one will stop drinking on motos [not even his brother probably], and how if he had been in a similar accident in the US, he probably would have lived.

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