This chapter is essentially about a boy named John who like a few previous patients at Zanmi Lasante is in need of care that even Farmer's clinic cannot provide. He has swellings in his neck that Farmer determines are cancerous. However, the diagnosis needs to be confirmed in Boston. Serena Keonig, a Brigham doctor, finds an oncologist at Massachusetts General who will make the diagnosis for free. Of course, he needs a sample of John's tissue and blood, and so Farmer sends a Haitian surgeon that he knows to be competent to do the biopsy for $1000. The trip takes the surgeon twelve hours, because it's raining, creating mud and swollen streams. The biopsy itself lasts until dawn. Farmer flies the samples himself to Boston, and Serena takes them to Mass General. The news is bad: John has nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a very rare cancer. It is often fatal, but if caught in its early stages, 60 to 70 percent have been cured.
The plan is to treat John in Haiti, but Serena is told by an oncologist that it will kill the child to do it there. So Serena and Farmer agree that they'll try to bring the boy to Boston. Serena begs and cajoles the administration in Boston until they agree to do all the treatment for free. The next hurdle becomes the documents needed to get him out of Haiti and into America. He has no birth certificate, so Serena makes up names for his parents and even finds him a Creole-speaking resident in pediatrics from Mass General to accompany him on the flight.
Serena brings two suitcases with her to Haiti - one filled with stuffed animals and toys for the pediatric ward in Cange and one filled with medicines she thinks they might need to get John to the United States. She also carries a plastic bag filled with water and two goldfish for.......
This entire chapter is a metaphor for the disaster named Haiti
and Kidder is right to wonder if all of Paul......
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