One of our most recent emergency air rescues occurred on May 5, 2011. We received a call from a small community that was 3 hours away on horseback from San Borja, Bolivia, in the department of Beni.
There were 5 people that needed assistance. Unfortunately, we only had space for 3 in our Cessna airplane because one of the women needed to lay down. This 17 year old young woman had a very large tumor on her knee – twice as big as her head – and was in extreme pain; she could barely move. She lived in a Chiman community (one of the indigenous groups of Bolivia) and didn’t speak any Spanish, so she wasn’t able to explain what had happened.
|Tumor on her knee|
Another of the women had tuberculosis on her spine and was essentially paralyzed. The 3 women were flown from San Borja to Cochabamba, where they would have access to the care they needed (the 2 other patients were not in as critical condition and took a bus to Cochabamba). The young woman’s leg will have to be amputated; she most likely would have died if she had not been able to get to a hospital quickly. Special thanks to our Mano a Mano Aviation staff and our pilot Ivo Velasquez for making this flight!