Ernesto’s Story

Saving Ernesto

In the beginning, Opal House had two wonderful students attending our Bible afternoon classes and morning breakfast feeding program. Sandra age 7 and Paola age 9 were the beginning of what Opal House wanted to do for the community in Guatemala. The girls stopped attending regularly or only one would show up at a time so Dr. William Boegel made a house visit to investigate.

Ernesto, their father, was lying in a fly infested bed, gasping for air and had been abandoned by his wife.  The two young girls were left to cook for him and attend to his massive dirty wounds. Ernesto is a paraplegic from a broken back and has no feeling below the waist!  There were 5 Massive open ulcers down to pelvis and both femurs, all infected, an obvious non united femoral fracture, and an open urinary fistula into his pelvic floor. He was 25 years old and dying in his own bed while his two girls tried in vain to help.

Dr William Boegel performed 6 months of daily home wound care, prescribed antibiotics to prevent death from pneumonia while Diane cooked him food and he slowly stabilized. Dr. Boegel was then able to transport Ernesto to the hospital where it was determined Ernesto was dying of anemia with a hematocrit of four(below 10 requires transfusions, 5 or below is usually lethal.)  Dr. Boegel ordered transfusions kits from medical friends in the states and we blood typed all of us.  Luckily Diane is a Universal O positive donor, so a live patient to patient direct blood transfusion of a little more than one unit of blood from Diane to Ernesto was performed.

Immediately Ernesto’s breathing improved and 5 years later he continues to father his two girls and spends days in his wheelchair in the streets of Agua Escondida. His girls continue to attend school(he is illiterate and didn’t finish first grade) so we are delighted that the Lord spared his life and saved the girls from an orphanage or very unstable life. There is no safety net or disability here in rural Guatemala-that’s one of the reasons why the Lord called us here.

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