Domingos Antonic was 8 months old when his parents brought him to the hospital in Malanje, Angola. Domingos weighed only 15.5 pounds when he came into the hospital. His fever was raging, foam was all over his lips and he lay completely still in his mother’s arms.
Domingos was suffering from acute anemia and couldn’t breathe because he was infected with malaria. He had been sick for days. While his parents made the right choice to bring Domingos to the hospital, the medical staff did not have the necessary supplies to save him in the late stage of the disease. It was too late.
At 3:50 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2006, five minutes after this photo was taken, baby Domingos Antonic died. His parents watched helplessly as their son died from malaria.
“His veins were so small it was hard to give him the transfusion he desperately needed,” Domingos’ mother said. “A pediatric surgeon would have been able to cut deeper and find a vein. It might have saved his life.”
Asked what else would have saved his life, she answered softly, “Oxygen.”
The hospital does not even have an oxygen tank. The heartbreak is even harder to deal with knowing that malaria is a disease that can be prevented and cured if the resources are available, she said.
Adapted from Interpreter Magazine, July/August 2009, p. 15-17.