fighting ebola Marcus Dipaola/ZumaPress

Morir para vivir

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONA – Yo era un joven médico asignado a la Unidad de Emergencias del Hospital de Niños Ola During, en Sierra Leona, cuando tuve que aconsejar a la madre de una niña gravemente enferma de malaria que dijera una mentira flagrante. Su hija Mariama, de cuatro años, necesitaba una transfusión de sangre para no morir, pero la madre no tenía dinero para pagar las pruebas de detección de infecciones y compensar al donante. Yo había visto a muchos niños morirse mientras sus padres buscaban desesperadamente los fondos necesarios.

Decidido a salvar la vida de Mariama, dije a la madre que volviera a casa y anunciara que su hija había muerto. Yo sabía que eso provocaría la compasión de sus parientes, que exprimirían sus magros recursos para garantizar un funeral adecuado. La mujer aceptó; seis horas después volvió al hospital con dinero suficiente para cubrir todo lo necesario: una transfusión y tratamiento para la malaria y los gusanos que infestaban el cuerpo de Mariama. Pocos días después, le di el alta, todavía débil, pero ya en recuperación.

La enfermedad de Mariama no impulsó a sus parientes a actuar, pero su muerte sí. Lo mismo ocurrió, en escala mucho mayor, durante la epidemia de ébola en África occidental.

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