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  • Physicians for Peace

The Boy Who Needed the World's Best Care

Updated: May 31, 2023

Three-year-old Deried was watching his father fix the family’s old motorcycle in rural Limón Province, Costa Rica, when the explosion happened.

The nearest water was a puddle on the ground, and frantic onlookers rolled him in it to extinguish the flames. With severe burns and bacterial infections from the groundwater, the little boy had injuries too critical for his local hospital to handle.

If there is a silver lining to Deried's story, it is this: His family was able to travel about 100 miles the next day to the capital city, San José, for treatment at Hospital Nacional de Niños, which partners with Physicians for Peace.

Many caregivers there had not only trained with PFP but have taught and presented burn-care techniques at the international level. Deried spent 22 days in Intensive Care before improving enough to join other pediatric patients in the hospital, where he continues to bounce back daily.

3-year-old burn patient in Costa Rica receiving quality burn care.
Deried's injuries were too severe for most Costa Rica hospitals to manage. Among other treatments, he needs a custom face mask, hand splints, compression garments, and specialized physical therapy for the best chance at complete recovery.

A Global Circle of Support

At his bedside, Deried had an all-star visit: not only by his own burn team, but by medical experts from Shriners Children's Boston, one of North America's top pediatric hospitals, in town for on-site training sponsored by PFP.

"Our days at the hospital have been truly wonderful and eye-opening," says Shriners occupational therapist Jessica Willoughby. "I find it awesome that we're able to collaborate and educate—and it’s not just us educating, but the team in Costa Rica educating us as well. Sharing combined knowledge, so that we can provide better burn care to patients across the world."

Nurse Kara Sher and surgeon Carlos Duran, MD, were also on hand from Shriners Boston. Kara, who had taught virtually for PFP during the pandemic, was especially happy that hands-on volunteering is back. "I'm totally humbled and grateful," she says, "to be able to come in person and represent the mission of Physicians for Peace."

Pediatric burn patient in Costa Rica gets a visit from interdisciplinary team from Shriners Children's Boston.
Along with his skilled burn-care specialists in San José, Deried was examined by an interdisciplinary team from Shriners Children's Boston. (R-L: Dr. Carlos Duran, nurse Kara Sher, occupational therapist Jessica Willoughby, and Deried's mother Fabiola.)

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