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Nov 6, 1998

Brain tumor survivor back home

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The Friends of Pediatrics is celebrating the successful treatment of one of their patients, but unfortunately also mourning the loss of another. Azael Vargas returned to Belize on October twenty-third after spending several months in the U.S. to have a brain tumor removed. But the family’s ordeal began after he became so ill he couldn’t speak or walk and neither the doctors in Orange Walk nor Chetumal knew what was wrong. He was finally diagnosed with a brain tumor by Dr. Egbert Grinage and through the Friends of Pediatrics taken to Goldsboro, North Carolina for treatment just days later. News Five spoke with Azael and his mom Asalia today about how she felt when she learned what was wrong and how they are both doing now.

Asalia Vargas, Azael’s Mom

“Well then I felt, I said now I have something to worry about, something real because that was like, you are sick and it is a very frustrating situation, because you are sick and you don’t know what you have. The doctors are treating you, and then I even used to take him to Chetumal to Clinica Campeche and Clinica Caranza and they were just “that’s it”. They never said let’s do this, let’s do this, let’s do this. Because if Dr. Cuellar would have told me let’s do one of his head, because what he told me to do; I did everything he told me to do.”

Azael Vargas

“I remember when we reach Goldsboro but then they did the surgery and then I started to feel better; I feel great. And Dr. Grinage he also, when we were at Houston he used to hoist me like a baby, like when you want the baby to burp, something like that, he used to hoist me up.”

Asalia Vargas

“That was the only way we could get him; he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t sit on his own.”

Azael Vargas

“And I couldn’t talk. And when he said it’s time to carry me, I couldn’t say no because every time he carried me he hurt my stomach with his shoulder, but I couldn’t speak to tell him you’re hurting me so then I had to stand all the pain.

I feel she is a wonderful mom, without her I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Azael was assisted in Goldsboro, North Carolina by Dr. Robert Laison and Dr. Hubert Fuke. His surgery was a joint effort between Wayne Memorial and Duke University. But although Dr. Egbert Grinage and the Friends of Pediatrics in Belize are thrilled to have Azael home and in good condition, the very day they welcomed him back they were stunned by the news that baby Khadedra Paulino had died in Michigan. The child had swallowed a caustic substance last year and was undergoing a series of operations to replace her esophagus and reopen her trachea at children’s hospital in Detroit. In between operations a tract she was using to breathe fell out while she slept and the two year old died. Kenrick Ysaguirre says the Friends of Pediatrics is now looking for the family of Neri Osario who they lost contact with during Hurricane Mitch. He would like the mother to know they are all set to take the child up for surgery.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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