Oldest Maid’s darling Beautiful Daughter (a teenager) was cleaning the family bathroom yesterday with hydrochloric acid and seriously burned her throat from the fumes. Oldest Maid’s sister, Favorite Maid, told me this when she arrived for work this morning. She also told me Oldest Maid would not be coming to work. Although they took Beautiful Daughter to the hospital last night, the doctor on call only gave her an injection and would not administer oxygen because he was not a specialist. Why an injection you wonder—because that is the way they treat any problem here regardless whether it is useful or not. They told her to eat lots of ice and just drink liquids and gave her some antacid pills. I looked up hydrochloric acid fumes on the internet (praise the internet!) and it is pretty serious. She probably should have been given oxygen last night. She could have seriously damaged her lungs and it could be permanent. She may get pneumonia and could even die. I told Favorite Maid to tell Oldest Maid to get the hydrochloric acid out of the house, that it was an industrial chemical and had no place in a household. Favorite Maid agreed with me.
Then Oldest Maid came to work a few hours later. I said get that hydrochloric acid out of your house. It is very dangerous. If you need a strong cleaning agent next time use Clorox. She told me her daughter was really ill and couldn’t talk and was having difficulty breathing. Then I told her she needed to take her daughter back to the hospital. She said she has an appointment for Monday with a specialist. No, I said, you shouldn’t wait until Monday, this is serious, and you leave now and take her to La Paz. It won’t do any good both sisters said, all the doctors have left both here and La Paz to go on vacation for Semana Santa. That is what the healthcare professionals told us last night at the hospital.
Then I called Esperando. Clever Esperando, he sicced the Mine Safety Manager onto it. The Mine Safety Manager went to visit Beautiful Daughter and assess the situation. The Mine Safety Manager knows about industrial chemicals, and he is trained as an emergency medical technician as well as being a fireman. He knows the emergency room staffs here, if nothing else maybe they can get her some oxygen. We are fortunate that he is not on vacation.
Can you imagine a national vacation two weeks long with people partying and carrying on at the beach and no medical care available? Can you imagine all the highway accidents, heart attacks, stabbings, food poisoning, etc., and no significant medical care available because the doctors are gone? This can be a very scary place.
The Mine Safety Manager took her back to the emergency room, then went and got an oxygen canister so she can breathe it for the next couple of hours. The upshot of this crisis is that the mine is going to buy some oxygen tanks and a defibrillator so we can have some reliable sources for a medical emergency. The Oldest Maid came and borrowed US$400 from Esperando so that she can take Beautiful Daughter to a finally found specialist in La Paz who has not shut down for Easter weekend.