Thanks to our generous community, Meyling and several other patients of the Together for Health program are able to make frequent visits to hospitals in Managua.
Meyling was born without complications at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. However, she soon began to show signs of suffocation. After a few hours in the intensive care unit, doctors reported that she had a problem with her esophagus and gave her a 40% chance to live.
She continued in the ICU until April 7th, when she was transferred to the La Mascota Hospital in Managua where she was diagnosed with grade III esophageal atresia + pneumonia + heart disease. On April 8 she had a gastrostomy surgery (feeding tube) and a esophagostomy (external saliva valve). For her first 26 days, she was only given nutrients through IV fluid, then she began recieving formula via her tube. After a month of recovery, Meyling returned to her home in Los Robles for a few days only to relapse with severe pneumonia due to esophagostomy closure (saliva accumulated in her lungs) . Meyling returned to the hospital in Managua and was admitted for 41 days.
In her follow-up appointments, she continued to feed via the tube and could not have an esophageal replacement surgery because she was underweight.
On March 1, 2018, a Brigadista (community health volunteer) from Los Robles reported her case to the local nurse. Soon after, she joined the Together for Health program thanks to the support of Drs. Ben and Karen Thrower and Comunidad Connect. Since then, she has been supported with transportation to Managua twice a month, special formula, vitamins, and medications.
On February 11, 2019, at 2 years and 10 months old, Meyling received her esophageal replacement plus an esophagostomy fistula. She was admitted at 8: 20 am for a two hour procedure. After staying in the ICU for three days, Meyling was discharged with follow-up appointments scheduled for every month.
Six months after the surgery, she began to present problems with the esophagostomy fistula (saliva had accumulated) and Meyling continued to use a feeding tube. These symptoms continued from August to January, while Meyling made trips to Managua every two weeks.
Finally, On January 23, 2020, the feeding tube was removed! Her mother was instructed to feed her orally.
And so a new challenge begins as her family teaches Meyling how to chew to digest her food. Her family says that Meyling is a testament from God. For Comunidad Connect, she is a “Warrior of Hope” and inspiration to continue working for impact in the community.