Boy from Sancti Spíritus survives 17 Years with Severe Disease

“We are 21 days here and nine days at home. We live more in the hospital than in Caja de Agua and I thank doctors Anaisa and Redelio and all those who have kept my son alive since he was 32 days old, practically”.

From the face worn by hours of shocks and bad sleep, however, the gratitude of the mother Ismaday Real Reyes gushes out. Her son Francis Rodriguez is 17 years old, and for more than half of his life he has been admitted to the José Martí Pérez Provincial Pediatric Hospital. Science and affection have made him survive all this time with cystic fibrosis (CF), a serious hereditary disease that requires close and multidisciplinary follow-up.


Those vomiting and diarrhea, those constant dehydrations, that growing abdominal hernia gave Ismaday a bad feeling. One morning, as soon as it was light enough to see the dusty embankment, she walked the four kilometers that separate Caja de Agua from Tuinucú, in the municipality of Taguasco. The medical diagnosis confirmed, some time later, that the mother’s hunches were true.

Dr. Anaisa Marín Acosta, a first-degree specialist in Pediatrics and today head of the Respiratory Service at the so-called Hospitalito, knows Francis’ medical history inside out.

“We received him here when he was still an infant, very ill, with a giant abdominal hernia, which we were able to surgically intervene when he was about six years old. However, before that, we had to stabilize his serious digestive disorders. It was a very risky operation; it lasted about four hours, but there were no complications, the anesthetic risk was low and we fought that battle, after which we had to face others that were no less difficult.

From the beginning,” Anaisa continues, “the child presented vomiting, diarrhea, severe dehydration; all this associated with an important nutritional compromise, a marked protein-energy malnutrition. Then, respiratory symptoms appeared and suspicions of cystic fibrosis increased until the diagnosis was confirmed at two years of age. Thereafter, there were multiple admissions for exacerbations of cystic fibrosis.

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