Hands for Humanity beings Ecuadoran accident victim to Mayo
By Jeff Hansel
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
A girl struck by an SUV when crossing the street near her home in Portoviejo, Ecuador, now is healing comfortably at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.
Lidia Pin Pazmino, 8, was brought to Saint Marys by Rochester-based Hands for Humanity for corrective surgery, after months of failed treatment in Ecuador. But Hands for Humanity says that Lidia would like other kids her age to play with while she recovers here for a few more weeks. Knowledge of Spanish wouldn’t be needed.
"All doors opened up for me, and I was able to come here. I had to keep on going until God wanted me to stop," said Lidia’s mother, Panchi Pazmino. She said she was "willing to give everything — for Lidia to be OK."
Lidia was struck by a drunk driver in an SUV that went around a bus that had stopped for her.
Panchi was still in her nightgown when she heard yells from neighbors. "She was thrown 7 meters in the air," Panchi said through an interpreter at Ronald McDonald House in Rochester last week.
To come to Rochester, Panchi had to raise enough money for the flight and passports. During one fundraiser, she literally stopped cars, then told Lidia’s story to the occupants, and accepted whatever they could afford.
Medical care was delayed in Ecuador because the area had no 911 system, and the hospital first turned Lidia away because her family hadn’t brought money. In Ecuador, all health costs must be paid at the time of service.
Eventually, a hospital ICU accepted Lidia. She remained comatose for two days. Later, she was transferred (driven in a private vehicle with her mom) to a recovery unit in an open-air county hospital. Her room housed six patients, including Lidia, and six mothers. Panchi slept on a piece of cardboard by Lidia’s bedside and provided most of her daughter’s care.
Children aren’t allowed in the hospital in Ecuador — to avoid bringing in more infections. So Lidia only got to see her dad and brothers — ages 6, 5 and 4 — once.
Worn bed sheets and hospital gowns have holes. To get an IV or a bandage, family members must leave the hospital and purchase it at a nearby pharmacy or medical supply store.
Panchi said Lidia’s legs weren’t of equal length when she returned home, and she had to use a wheelchair. One doctor said everyone’s legs are different lengths. Another complained that Lidia was spoiled and just didn’t want to walk.
"I had to take her to school in the wheelchair, by bus or even carrying her," Panchi said.
When they finally got to Saint Marys Hospital, nearly nine months later, the care was dramatically different. Lidia’s hip and leg are healing properly now. She says that Rochester is pretty. She likes the snow and the Ronald McDonald House.
"And they took good care of us, and there’s one guy who always took me down to the play room," she said.
After all Lidia’s been through, she’s gained a career goal at the tender age of 8.
"I want to be an orthopedic doctor," she said.
Lidia’s mother said, "She has to go to school, because she skipped a lot of classes."
To donate sheets or hospital gowns, or to introduce similar-age playmates to Lidia, call Hands for Humanity board member Barb Malat at 285-0024.