Friday, April 5, 2013

Peruvians Improvise Runway Lights to Help Sick Patients

There is an old adage that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  That was certainly the case on Tuesday night in in the Peruvian jungle region.

A 31-year-old woman at the medical clinic in Contamana was going through complications while giving birth while another patient was suffering with symptoms of leptospirosis.  They desperately required medical care at a better-equipped hospital and arrangements were hastily made to fly them out to in nearby Pucalipa. Yet the lone runway at Contamana’s airfield did not have any lighting.  

Faced with the need to transport the infirm patients, a local radio station urged residents to help.  Thirty minutes approximately 300 mototaxis and bikers converged at the airfield and created an impromptu lighting arrangement along the sides of the runway.  As a result of their last-minute heroism, a small plane carrying the three patients was able to take off from Contamana and safely travel to Pucalipa.

As seen in the video below, Melita Murrieta and her newborn baby have been recovering satisfactorily at the Pucalipa hospital:

”I am recuperating after the emergency that happened when the baby ingested amniotic fluid.  Thank God the baby is recovering,” said Murrieta to the local press.  She also thanked all those who aided her including radio journalist Rodolfo Lovo whose call for help over the airwaves was answered by the villagers of Contamana.

Despite receiving urgent medical care, 17-year-old Samuel Tamani died on Thursday due to leptospirosis.

As noted on the Global Voices website, Twitter users have spread the word of the incident in Contamana and have produced messages of support and optimism using the hashtag #contamana.  Yet one user wrote that the event “reveals the serious problems people with limited means of support have to face to get quality health care.”  Her point is certainly one to consider since Tamani had reportedly arrived in Contamana for treatment after taking a three-hour boat ride on a river from his native town of Orellana.

Video Source– YouTube via user 24HorasPTV

Online Sources – Global Voices Online, RPP, El Comercio

1 comment:

MAQuinonez said...

Actually this is a quite common occurrence throughout the less-developed world.

The aircraft have bright landing lights and can land without any assistance from the ground. Just a pickup on either end to mark the end to the runway can be a help.

We used to do this quite often in Baja California here in México.