Impaled: “Be a man, boy. Everything will be alright!”

After nearly two months: “Now we are going to the Hospital Diospi Suyana!”

A case from a mountain village in Anta Province.  Especially the Quechuas lead a hard life living in the Andes.  They earn their living working the ground and rearing livestock and hope to make many Soles on the next market day.  As youngsters children already play an active role in the daily work.  Pedro*, 7 years old, and his cousin were told to look after the family’s herd of sheep.  But just sitting around for hours on end gets extremely boring.  But if one plays it and messes about a bit the time just flies.

The two boys played more and more wildly until suddenly Pedro let out a scream.  He was on the floor writhing in pain.  A few drops of blood had reddened his shirt.  That evening his parents examined his tummy, but could not find much except a small puncture point and a small swelling.  But because Pedro kept on wailing, his family brought him to the state health station in the city of Izcuchaca the next morning.

The doctor glanced at the wound and commented: “Oh that is nothing.  That will heal quickly!” Full of despair the parents looked at the doctora’s face: “But Pedro groaned the whole night.  He feels really unwell!”

The medic in white shook her head: “No, Pedro is just exaggerating.  Do not worry!”  Thus the family left the medical institution without pain-killers, antibiotics, comfort or help.

Seven weeks passed.  Things did not improve, on the contrary they worsened. When moving in certain ways Pedro felt extreme pains in his peritoneum.  Finally when pus flowed from the hole the parents knew they had to do something.  They took Pedro and drove to the Hospital Diospi Suyana in Apurímac State.  Paediatrician Dr Simon Then listened attentively as the father told the story.  Within minutes the missionary doctor was holding a transducer on Pedro’s peritoneum.  On the screen an alien element could be seen under the fascia, measuring 2 by 1 centimetres.

Yesterday morning surgeon Dr Olga Koop explored the wound in the operating theatre.  She found the corpus delicti: a broken thick twig – possibly even a bit of a branch.

Finally Pedro has no more pains.  He and his Dad are happy.  The journey to the Hospital Diospi Suyana was well worth it.  All’s well that ends well.  And tonight Pedro will comment that he has not enjoyed such a delicious supper in a long time! (*Name changed).

The young patient gives thumbs up.  His father sits on the left, surgeon Dr Olga Koop stands on the right.
The twig is roughly 2cms x 1cm.