One year old Elie Sadaqa is suffering from a form of vasculitis – inflammation that affects blood vessels – and his parents, like so many others in Lebanon, cannot afford the medical measures required to save their son’s life.
I don’t have more information on the child’s diagnosis to explain it. LBC had listed it as temporal arteritis – a condition that affects one of the arteries reaching the head – but I notified them that such a diagnosis is unlikely given its age of onset is usually above 50. But exceptions in medicine do exist. They have since changed their wording on their news link.
According to the child’s father, the lack of a medical code for the procedures required to help Elie – a pure bureaucratic measure – means the ministry of public health in the country won’t cover it. I guess they need any excuse not to pay the approximated $150,000 for treatment. Or it could be that Elie Sadaqa simply doesn’t have the required wasta to save his life. Welcome to Lebanon, where your life is contingent upon your connections.
Elie Sadaqa is not a lone case in the country. Lebanon has next to no primary care. Our hospitals are in competition amongst each other and many of them are, as such, so specialized they are borderline unaffordable to people who don’t have insurance, aren’t super rich, or – like Elie’s case – do not belong to the inner circles of the minister of health.
What will happen to Elie Sadaqa? I can tell you that it’ll take some doctor with very, very good intentions to help. It’ll take a hospital who puts aside the business aspect of medicine for a moment. It’ll take a lot of people who are willing to pitch in with whatever means they can afford. The question, though, is what happens to the other Elie Sadaqas whose stories don’t make it to national TV amidst the situation of medicine in Lebanon today?
LBC hasn’t listed a way to help the family so if anyone knows how, let me know. And for those who are interested, I intend to write an article soon detailing why medicine in Lebanon is the way it is. Until then, hopefully Elie Sadaqa finds the ways to grow up, go to school and give joy to his family and friends.