“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”William Osler
Many years ago, we experienced a virus outbreak in our home affecting a large percentage of our children. We vowed to never face a crisis like that again. 2020 tested both our preparedness and our resolve. Thanks to Doc Castro’s relentless pursuit of preventative healthcare, we’re facing the challenges of COVID-19 head-on.
COVID-19’s Impact at Dorie’s Promise
For 7 months, we monitored our staff as they arrived at work each day and closely watched our children for symptoms. More than a dozen times, we initiated our isolation and mobilization plans when someone felt ill or a staff member was potentially exposed outside of work. Each time was a false alarm.
Our children have been home since March. Very few people come into our home. We disinfect regularly. Our staff members wear masks. Despite our efforts, in October several children and a few staff members tested positive for the virus.
Those positive test results were a tremendous blow to our confidence.
Disappointment, sadness, worry, anxiousness, and fear—we felt them all. We followed the protocols, but our kids still got sick. Doc responded with confidence. “Despite my feelings of disappointment and sadness, as a physician, I understand that I must be stronger and lead by example with optimism and hope. We are not alone, we have God on our side.”
Thankfully, his vigilance spared us the kind of mass outbreak that could have infected our entire home. Without Doc’s guidance, our situation might have been much worse.
Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery
Seven months after COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Guatemala, our first case was diagnosed. Our daily monitoring protocols allowed us to identify that case on day 1 of being symptomatic and a test was immediately administered. While waiting on the results, everyone who had been in close proximity entered quarantine.
Shortly thereafter, 4 of our quarantined children were also symptomatic and subsequently tested positive. Over the course of 2 weeks, 13 children and 2 staff members in our home tested positive for the virus. Staff members testing positive quarantined in their personal residences while our children quarantined in separate areas of our home.
We are pleased to report that everyone experienced only mild symptoms and has since fully recuperated.
We’re proud of how quickly our protocols identified a potential threat to our home and allowed us to act. Fighting a virus with asymptomatic transmission presents a significant challenge. Going forward, our procedures remain in place. We continue screening everyone who comes into our home, limiting those on-site, requiring our staff to wear masks, and diligently cleaning. As more is learned about the virus, we will continue adapting to better prevent any future occurrences in our home.
Ongoing Health Concerns for the Future
Although the pandemic is at the forefront of concern for the world right now, many of our children face complex medical conditions requiring continuing care and impending medical procedures. Please pray with us as we monitor their health and plan for their care in the year ahead.
In the coming year, Dulce’s heart condition will continue to be monitored by her cardiologist. Although she is not facing any complications or immediate procedures, we always monitor her closely. Josue and Manuel will continue to receive care for their intestinal and urinary tract conditions, with the possibility of scheduling their procedures if needed. Their team of medical providers will guide us on how and when to best proceed.
Unlike those mentioned above, most of our children fight battles unseen by those outside our home. The majority of our children endured varying levels of abuse and neglect before living with us. Especially as they mature, we find that the negative impact of their early childhood trauma lasts well into their teen years, causing learning disabilities, developmental delays, PTSD, and many other forms of psychological and emotional pain. We continue to expand our team and supplement with outside providers to best meet the physical, mental, psychological needs of our children.
My goal as their doctor is to give each child access to the best care possible to help them heal and grow into their potential. Many times, achieving that goal means I have to reach out to others on our staff and outside our home to provide specialized care. I want to see all of our children become healthy adults.
Looking Towards the Future
A comprehensive health care approach demands extensive resources and support within the organization, which means outside support as well. My duty as a physician and pediatrician is to practice based on bio-ethical principles, to remain up-to-date on scientific developments, to constantly monitor our health program, and to maximize our resources.
In the future, I would like to devote more time to clinical, administrative, and educational planning. Improving our well-designed and comprehensive health program will make a difference in our children’s lives.
In life, we never know everything and must always be willing to change, accept what’s happening, and make the best of it. I hope we all open our hands to God’s will and adapt to promote better health and better ways of living. I look forward to the possibilities of effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the foreseeable future, which will allow us to conquer this virus.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the children at Dorie’s Promise during this difficult time.
With love and appreciation,