|   Posted: March 04, 2020

Rafael got infected with severe dengue and spent almost a month hospitalized in Honduras. Doctors feared the worst, but Rafael wouldn’t give up.

“I Beat Dengue”

Rafael got infected with severe dengue and spent almost a month hospitalized in Honduras. Doctors feared the worst, but Rafael wouldn’t give up.

Rafael holds his x-ray

Malaria may be the most well-known mosquito-borne disease, but dengue is like its equally deadly cousin. In Honduras, children know to look out for the symptoms of dengue during the rainy season from May to November, including fever, headache, vomiting and joint pain.

Despite government awareness programs, dengue was exceptionally aggressive in 2019. The number of cases in Honduras more than tripled compared to past years, exceeding 111,000 nationwide as of December.

Each one of those cases has a name, a story, a family that has fervently prayed for healing. Twelve-year-old Rafael was one of those thousands of cases. And his story is one of miracles.

“I’ll never forget that day in June 2019 when I came back home from school and felt in agony,” says Rafael. “The last thing I remember is that I laid in my bed because my joints were aching; I had a terrible headache that I could not bear, and a fever reaching 104 degrees. My parents rushed me to the community’s public health center, and I was hospitalized for three days.”

Rafael read the Bible on his bed
Rafael holds a chicken

After receiving intravenous fluids for three days, Rafael started to feel a bit better. When the local doctors examined him, they concluded that he had only classic dengue, which is rarely life-threatening, so he was discharged to rest at home. However, Rafael and his family did not expect that the worst episodes regarding his health were yet to come. The night he came home from the hospital, Nancy, his mother, knew something was wrong. All night long, her son’s nose bled, and by morning he was begging to go back to the hospital.

While Rafael was taken to the capital city by ambulance, his mother accompanied him and contacted the Compassion center staff to give them the news. The center staff not only offered Rafael and Nancy spiritual comfort through prayers and phone calls, but informed Nancy that Rafael’s medical bills, meals and transportation back to the community would be covered through the Compassion Medical Fund.

Rafael arrived at the capital city's public hospital in a delicate condition and was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) along with other patients suffering from severe dengue. Rafael’s liver had swollen due to the disease. He could barely eat solid food and was connected to an IV.

But Rafael did not give up hope in the midst of turmoil. Though he witnessed some of the patients in the ICU succumb to the terrible disease, he kept believing he would live. Rafael prayed with his mother not only for his health, but also for the rest of the patients.

“I learned in the Compassion center that God is our healer, and I had faith that I was going to get back home with my parents and two little sisters. I will not deny that my physical condition weakened due to dengue, but I remained hopeful. When I saw my mother worried next to my hospital bed, which was wrapped with a mosquito net, I told her not to cry and to keep on praying,” recalls Rafael.

Rafael spent almost three weeks in the hospital. During that time, he lost weight, had low blood pressure, was unable to walk for days due to joint pain, and endured a skin rash that spread all over his body.

The Compassion center staff prayed for Rafael and the other 50 beneficiaries who were facing classic dengue.

Rafael sits on his bed
Rafael and his family

To the doctors’ surprise, Rafael's health improved against all odds and he was discharged from the ICU, where children represented the highest death toll due to severe dengue. Rafael was sent home and asked to rest for at least one month under constant surveillance in his community health center.

“I was confident that I was going to beat dengue, and I could not be happier to get back home with my family,” recalls Rafael. “Though I’m under constant surveillance with the local doctor, I feel better than ever and have a normal life. When I attend my monthly medical appointments with the doctors, they call me Champion, as my medical exams show that I’m dengue-free.”

Rafael and his family cannot thank the Compassion center staff enough for their commitment and prayers during Rafael’s sickness.

“We’re deeply grateful for the Compassion Medical Fund. My son went through very expensive medical exams that we could not afford, and his treatment was not interrupted, because of the fund,” says Nancy.

Rafael is back on track and is a living testimony for doctors and community residents. He appreciates the love of the center staff and the support of his sponsor, Douglas, whose words of encouragement through letters have lifted him up during hard times.

Would you be willing to help children like Rafael? Learn more about Compassion's Medical Fund and Malaria Interventions, which also protect children from Zika virus.