May 11, 2015

Lidia - From Tragedy to Beauty

Thanks to her treatment at the COANIQUEM Burn Rehabilitation Center, Lidia has been transformed from a disfigured child into a lovely teenager.

At the age of five, in her home in Peru, she was severly burned when her clothes caught fire by the overturning of a paraffin lamp.  She received acute care in the hospital in Peru for ten months before being admitted to COANIQUEM for continuing treatment.  She had injuries on her face, chin, neck, thorax, adomen, arms, and legs.  The interdisciplinary team designed a treatment including surgeries, physical therapy, and psychological therapy.  Due to the severity of her injuries, Lidia has undergone several reconstructive surgeries in 10 years of free treatment at COANIQUEM in Santiago, Chile.

She is now a lovely teenager able to participate in school and to socialize in her community.  Because she continues to mature, the medical team is evaluating the right time for some  further surgeries.

Lidia and her father are welcomed at Casabierta at each treatment visit.  They receive free room and board and are also provided with travel expenses. 

Lidia is one of the more severe cases treated at COANIQUEM.  But approximately 8000 children receive appropriate free treatment each year.

See the attached picture to appreciate the loving "magic" performed for these burned children.

You can help assure that these children continue to receive this care!

Jan 29, 2015

Chilean President Bachelet Visits COANIQUEM Center

President Bachelet, Dr Jorge Rojas, and patient
President Bachelet, Dr Jorge Rojas, and patient

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet visited the COANIQUEM Burn Rehabilitation Center on December 24, 2014.

She came in support of the "Alto al Fuego 2014-15" ("No burns in 2014-15") campaign to reduce the incidence of severe burns from household fireworks.  Fireworks are part of Chilean tradition at the new year and other times of celebration.

Since the founding of COANIQUEM in 1979, burns from fireworks accounted for a significant percentage of children treated at the center in Santiago. 

In 2002 the Chilean legislature passed a law forbidding the use of household fireworks, limiting them to public and commercial displays.  COANIQUEM played a key role in lobbying for this law, and members of the COANIQUEM Burned Children Foundation Board of Directors (including this author!) were present in the chambers when the vote was taken.

Great celebration!  Without fireworks, of course!

Burns from fireworks have been reduced gradually, but greatly, since 2002.  However, annual prevention campaigns continue to remind families of the dangers to children. 

Of course, COANIQUEM conducts prevention education on a variety of causes of childhood burns.

It is heartening to see the support of President Bachelet for these prevention efforts. 

Seen in the pictures are President Bachelet; Dr Jorge Rojas, founder and President of COANIQUEM; members of the COANIQUEM medical staff; and legislative representatives.  The child patient must have been impressed!?

President Bachelet with COANIQUEM Staff
President Bachelet with COANIQUEM Staff
Nov 11, 2014

Burned Child Afffects Lives - His and His Family's

In a split second in 2009,  Martin, at age 4,  burned his face, abdomen, arms, hands, legs, and feet, as he set a mattress on fire while playing with matches. 

For years, Martin and his family have been affected by this tragedy.  Martin has endured painful surgeries and medical treatments.  He has suffered embarrassment and ridicule because of his looks.  He has been delayed in his physical development because of his injuries.

Martin's parents have suffered guilt, embarrassment, and worry because of Martin's injuries.  They need to provide extra care to him, often to the neglect of other children in the family.

However  -   COANIQUEM has provided rehabilitation help and support since soon after the accident -  all at no cost.

Martin receives reconstructive surgery periodically as his body grows.  Therapists provide him with physical, psychological, and occupational treatments.  He receives individualized compression garments periodically as his body grows, in order to soften his scars. He even keeps up with his schoolwork while in residence because of the on-site school, accredited by the state.

Martin's parents receive information and counseling regarding Martin's treatment at home in between sessions at the COANIQUEM center.  They are instructed on ways to prevent future burn accidents to Martin and his siblings at home.  One parent stays with Martin in the on-site Casabireta dormitory when he is in treatment, with free room and board.

Martin is now nine years old and in 4th grade in school.  He is a good student.  He recently underwent another surgery on his leg.  He remains in long-term treatment, but he and his family are slowly returning to normal lives.

Thanks to the caring staff and excellent treatment at COANIQUEM!


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