TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Features

January 19, 2009

‘God is at work in this’

Local doctors provide free care to teen from Honduras



By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: A special thank you to Gina Barajas, who served as a translator for Enrique Paguada. Without her help, it would have been impossible to share his story.

In all likelihood, Oscar Enrique Paguada was destined to die of a broken leg.

Instead, the 19-year-old student from Honduras is recovering from a series of surgeries here at Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin, where missionary doctors Elaine and Chad Eustis, surgeon Keith Belhasen and a handful of medical staff have saved his life.

More than eight months ago, Enrique was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle to school in his hometown of Catacamas, Honduras. The crash pinned and badly broke his left leg. But it took several hours to get Enrique treatment, and by that time blood was not properly flowing through the leg and it had to be amputated below the knee.

From his bed at Oak Tree Hospital in Corbin and through a Spanish translator, Enrique said he arrived at the public hospital in Honduras “near death” after his accident. A metal rod was inserted into his leg, and Enrique initially stayed in the hospital two months before being sent home to recuperate. But the wound became infected, and Enrique stayed at two different hospitals, enduring 14 different surgeries in Honduras — all ultimately unsuccessful in trying to stop the infection.

He said he was back in the hospital, suffering in great pain, unable to walk or even move his leg, when he first met the Eustises in early December.

The American doctors were on a mission trip sponsored by Jackson Healthcare and hosted by the Predisan Health Center, based out of Catacamas, Honduras. The organization gets its name from the Spanish words predicar, which means “to preach,” and sanar, which means “to heal.”

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