NAME: Paola Elizabeth Rivas Garcia
Fifteen-year-old Paola Elizabeth Rivas Garcia can’t hide her positive energy. No amount of nerves or fear will dampen her spirits. She wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up and her favorite sport is volleyball. Yet, she had to stop playing the sport after she started feeling a pain in her back. When she went for an X-Ray at a local hospital, the doctors said it was a mass of fatty tissue, a lipoma. Paola was advised to find a surgeon and her mother recommended they visit Centro Medico David V. King. Paola’s mother had heard about the subsidized clinic from a friend who works there as a nurse. For her visit, Paola only had to pay for an ultrasound. She was scheduled as a patient for the visiting American surgical team from Peconic Bay Medical Center, her procedure free of cost. Paola was kept awake during her surgery as the team only needed to numb the area where they removed the mass. “It was weird!” she said afterwards in recovery, her eyes wide, but her smile still bright.
by Laura Kelly