Panama 2018: Baby Alia

Gloria’s grandbaby Alia — daughter of Fani and Gabriel — finally saw a pediatrician, who dismissed their observations of the baby’s possibly having seizures. The doctor said Alia is just excitable and shakes when stimulated by high levels of fear or pleasure.

For half an hour? I have no medical training whatsoever, but I’m skeptical.

What are the family’s options? They can watch and wait and observe — which is what they are going to do — or pay out of pocket for a visit in the private health care system. Gloria has the money for them to do that, at least initially, because I pay her quite well for the two weeks that I’m there and she works for me in the villa. But she’s had experience in the past with spending down the money on the needs of her diverse extended family, and then having none when she needs treatment. She’s still trying to get to a diagnosis of her full body aches and pains, unusual for someone in her mid-40’s. And, whatever tests or treatment or medication that might arise for Alia from an initial visit in the private pay system would be Gloria’s responsibility. As worried as she is about Alia, I think she’s reluctant to go there.

These people face impossible choices among very limited options, and I can’t say I have any idea what I’d do if I were in their place.

Thanks to Bob Levy for the pic.


2 thoughts on “Panama 2018: Baby Alia

  1. for Katie: Alia has been having these episodes where she shakes noticeably since birth. She’s now about 8 months old. The episodes have been brief until the last one, which lasted about half an hour. She did not have a fever. She remained conscious with her eyes open; eyes didn’t roll. They took her to an urgent care/ER in Penonome — a hospital but lower level than in Panama City — and couldn’t be seen that day. The next day they went back — no pediatrician. They were finally seen on the fifth day. No idea how extensive the eval was, but the doctor basically said “don’t worry — excitable baby.” Gloria hasn’t told me about any more episodes, but like you, I’d wish for a more extensive evaluation. I think that won’t happen unless episodes continue or worsen.

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