Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bus Accident

Bus Accident near Puno kills 7, injures 42

Including one of our family members, Luz Nati Yucra Quispe, eldest daughter of Gonzalo and Pelajia. Fredy called from Puno to give us the news that around dawn on Monday, March 14, the bus from Tacna went off the road and turned on its side near Loripongo, about an hour west of Puno. Nati was coming home to Taquile for a visit, bringing watermelon and other fruits. Her brothers, Elias and Christian, were both at the bus terminal to meet her when they heard the news.

Nati was in the middle of the bus on an aisle, and was relatively lucky with the diagnosis of a splintered fracture on her upper arm, a break that would require surgery. Many passengers lost limbs and were horribly cut. The public hospital is fully covered by insurance, but private facilities are not. With the really terrible injuries triaged in front of her,Nati languished there for three days with very little care. Then suddenly the doctors slapped some plaster on her arm and prepared to discharge her. Corruption? Bus Company payoff of the doctors?

With help and advice from doctor and technician from the medical clinic on Taquile, we got her into a private facility where she had the surgery Thursday and is now recovering in a hotel room we rented for her and her parents in Puno. We are also helping to pay for the private hospital and medical bills, which must be paid up front. We are not certain if the insurance will eventually repay them.

News story on the accident says 5 dead and 30 injured, but the count went to 7 dead and 30 injured.

Nati rests and recouperates

 The driver was apparently drunk as empty bottles were found in the cab. He fled the scene but was caught. I highly discourage anyone ever riding in Transportes San Martin, the culpable bus company.

All of Nati's luggage was lost except the watermelon, which is reportedly broken and rotting in the Juliaca offices of the bus company.

Update March 30
Nati's parents brought her home to Taquile on March 24, for quieter and less expensive recuperation. She is weak and still has quite a bit of pain.
Sam helped her walk up the path from the boat.
Elias brought her on his new boat, so they were able to dock at our little port just below the house. Still quite a walk for one in pain.

Feeling a little better day by day
Nati can now walk around the patio--no big walks to neighbors or the plaza yet. Comfortable sleep is still a dream. Trasitional herbal and alternative healers are now stepping up for the long-term cure.

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