Articles / US Blockade on Cuba / Blockade vs Cuba / Thanks to the Cuban Revolution I did not lose my leg
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Thanks to the Cuban Revolution I did not lose my leg
By Iris Armas Padrino/ ACN.
In the morning of October 25th, when little Adrian Izquierdo Cabrera heard the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez mention his name and the name of other hospitalized children at the UN General Assembly, he, his mother and the medical staff could not hold back their emotion.
Excitement took over the pediatric ward of the National Institute on Oncology and Radiology (INOR), in Havana, in the midst of the pain and anguish experienced every day in, mainly because of the U.S. blockade against Cuba that prevents the nation from purchasing the necessary drugs
to fight cancer.
As a matter of fact, the list of children mentioned by the Cuban foreign minister to condemn this criminal and inhumane policy could have been much longer.
Adrian went through surgery on October 7 to remove a Ewing sarcoma on his right femur, which some specialists affirm is an aggressive tumor that in most cases affects lower limbs and might cause amputation.
At the hospital he was diagnosed with this disease and prior to the
surgery he went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Adrian and his family are greatly thankful to the multidisciplinary medical staff of the oncology ward of this hospital and sent a message of gratitude to the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, and the Cuban president Raul Castro.
“Thanks to them and the Revolution, me and other children hospitalized did not lose our legs”, said Adrian.
“If the U.S. blockade didn’t exist, my plaster wouldn’t cover my belly and my whole leg, and I wouldn’t have to keep the plaster for almost a year”, explains this 13 year-old boy, the offspring of a humble family (a housewife and a farmer) that lives in the municipality of Guines, in the western province of Mayabeque.
As said by Rodriguez at the UN, U.S. laws prevent Cuba from purchasing extensible prosthesis sold by American companies; therefore, Cuban children and youngsters that suffer from malignant bone tumors can not use these orthopedic surgical appliances that substitute bone parts.
“I was very excited when he mentioned my name at the UN, when I heard him I told my mum he was speaking of a boy with the same name, but then when I realized what he was talking about I knew it was me”, Adrian recalls with a smile on his face.
In the midst of pain and uncomfortableness due to the treatment, he extolled the care and attention received from the medical staff that assists him 24 hours a day, specially from “Dr. Alina, who carried out my surgery and cares about me until I get well; and Drs Erasmo and Juand
Carlos; and Reno, the head of the ward, among many others”.
Adrian’s mother, Ana Maria Cabrera Rodriguez, also expressed her gratitude for the love and attention her son receives every day from the staff of this hospital “where there are excellent pediatricians, oncologists, and nurses”, she noted.
His mother pointed out that, according to the specialists, Adrian’s surgery “could cost up to 250,000 U.S dollars and thanks to the Cuban Revolution my boy was able to overcome his situation”.
She expressed her indignation at the genocide policy imposed by the U.S. for more than 50 years in order to suffocate millions of Cubans by keeping them from enjoying their right to health care, humanity’s most treasured asset.
As she recalls the day the Cuban foreign minister tackled the consequences of the U.S. blockade in the field of health and mentioned her son’s name she says: “we all cried, we had no idea that he would refer to a group of Cuban children, including Adrian, in that important meeting. The doctors, nurses and all the staff also got excited”.
Colombian doctor John Olaya, oncologist and pediatrician at this hospital, affirmed that Adrian’s surgery lasted about ten hours. They had to take out his fibula from his left leg and replace part of the right femur affected, and then he was prescribed a treatment of very expensive
Olaya, who graduated in the first promotion of doctors from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), explained that this procedure is more expensive because patients must remain in plaster which extends their stay in the hospital.
He noted that lacking extensible prosthesis slows down recovery and that’s why patients need to stay longer in hospital and they can be victims of infections, and added that the appearance of childhood cancer has increased.
The oncologist said that about 300 new cases of malignant diseases (leukemia, lymphoma, central nervous system cancer, retinoblastoma, sarcoma, and neuroblastoma and other carcinomas) are detected annually in children.
Olaya stated that tumors in the central nervous system occupy the second or third place among malignant diseases in childhood, and the first option is surgical treatment complemented with chemotherapy with Temozolomide, which helps controlling the disease; and yet the U.S. blockade hinders the way for Cuba to purchase it and has hampered the treatment of some children.
Cuba has to purchase this drug through third nations and in many occasions the country cannot access to it and has to rely on donations that would suffice to complete the children’s treatments, he explained.
That’s the reason why, Cuban scientists have designed treatment protocols that have been effective so far such as the HR3 monoclonal antibody developed by the Center on Molecular Immunology.
Oncologist and pediatrician Dr Debora Garcia, who has worked at the pediatric ward of INOR for 16 years, affirmed with pride that she will continue working there because those children deserve all the love in the world.
INOR, national reference as to malignant diseases, relies on an abnegated and humanitarian staff that works for children’s health.
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