Local Collaboration Gives Young Girl a Chance at Full Recovery after Severe Injuries from Typhoon
December 13, 2013 - Eleven-year-old Rizza Flores suffered multiple fractures when her house in Burauen, Leyte collapsed at the height of supertyphoon Haiayan (known locally as Yolanda) on November 8. With no place to be treated, Rizza had to endure her pain for two weeks at an evacuation center in Burauen, while her mother struggled to care for her other five children. Rizza was only given pain relievers, as the hospitals in Leyte were not equipped to handle the orthopedic surgery she needed. For two weeks, the family relied on a local healer, not realizing how badly injured Rizza was.
Finally, her pain no longer bearable, Rizza had to be carried in a hammock from her mountain home to the Burauen District Hospital, where the family was advised to take Rizza to Tacloban, which is 28 miles away from her remote town. Volunteers from International Medical Corps took Rizza under their care at the Eastern Visayas Regional Memorial Medical Center in Tacloban, but realized she would need more specialized treatment than the center could provide. With nowhere else to turn to, International Medical Corps contacted the Dona Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation to help make arrangements for a medevac by helicopter and transport from the airport to hospital. Medics from International Medical Corps and Medical Teams International moved the stretcher-bound Rizza from the helicopter to the waiting van in less than five minutes and the convoy sped off to Cebu City's Chong Hua Hospital. Thankfully, local businessman Philip Romualdez agreed to cover Rizza’s hospital bill and post-operation rehab.
Rizza underwent a five-hour surgery at the hospital in Cebu to repair her injury – one day before she turned 12 years old. Thanks to this partnership between International Medical Corps, Medical Teams International and Philip Romualdez, who is trustee of the Dona Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation, Rizza is now making a full recovery and preparing to return to school.