Money woes, lockdowns delay much-needed surgery for 12-year-old boy
While most people were safely inside their houses when the government imposed a Metro Manila lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases in March last year, 11-year-old Bryan James Olande was confined in a private hospital in Quezon City for acute stomach pain.
“I rushed him to the doctor on March 14, 2020, because he was doubled up in pain. During the seven days he was confined, he was given medicine for stomach cramps and stomach acid. But his pediatrician did not order any laboratory tests,” Olande’s mother, Tee Jay, told the Inquirer.
When the boy was discharged a week later, the pain returned and his mother took him to another hospital. After an hour in the emergency room where he was given medicine that did nothing to alleviate his symptoms, Olande underwent an X-ray. Based on the results, his appendix had ruptured and he needed to undergo life-saving surgery right away.
“The doctor said I needed to find another hospital because there were no surgeons available. I went to the first hospital I took Bryan to but they were asking for a deposit and I had no money. Luckily, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center agreed to admit him. He was operated on that same day,” Tee Jay said.
Because of the damage to his colon, Olande also underwent colostomy (surgery creating an opening to the large intestine through the abdomen) to help rid his body of waste. More than two years later, he has yet to undergo reverse colostomy due to the lockdowns imposed by the government and his family’s lack of financial resources.
Olande’s father is a security guard while Tee Jay cooks and sells kakanin (native delicacies). The couple has three other children, two of whom are also in need of treatment because they suffer from epileptic seizures.
Olande, who is now 12 years old, is a grade 7 student. His wish is to undergo surgery for his condition so he can go back to living a normal life while helping his mother sell kakanin.
His family, however, will need to raise around P60,000 for the operation based on the quotation given by the hospital in January. Lockdowns and the surge in COVID-19 cases have prevented Tee Jay from getting an updated estimate for the cost of the surgery.
Those who want to help Olande can call Tee Jay at 0969-1788994. Donations can be deposited in her husband’s Unionbank account (Bryan Olande, account no. 1098-1902-1180).
—STEPHANIE R. ASUNCION
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