Patient Profile: Paola Elizabeth

Paola Elizabeth Rivas Garcia is an energetic 15-year-old from Jucuapa. She came to the Centro Medico David V. King to receive a free surgery, to remove a mass on her back. The surgery was performed by Dr. Augostino Cervone from Peconic Bay Medical Center, along with a team of volunteers from PBMC, and in coordination with Medical Mission Internationa

NAME: Paola Elizabeth Rivas Garcia
AGE: 15
FROM:  Jucuapa

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

After surgery, Paola Elizabeth receives a handmade bracelet presented by Amy Douglas-Smith, the medical staff coordinator at Peconic Bay Medical Center and one of the volunteers on the mission


Paola Elizabeth shows off her new bracelet while recovering from her surgery