By Maria Fernanda Rodríguez.
On April 24, 2017, Daniel Infante, a student of Business Administration from Los Andes University (ULA by its acronym in Spanish), stopped being self-reliant. During a peaceful protest that day outside his residence in the city of Merida, -a city in Los Andes- a bullet, fired by an unidentified gunman, pierced his head and lodged in the right side of his brain, where it remains.
Since then, Daniel has been in bed, unable to move or speak. Investigations into the case are also paralyzed.
Daniel was not participating in the Sit-in against the Dictatorship, a protest called that by the opposition to the Nicolas Maduro regime, but unfortunately, he went out to the entrance of the building where he lives to talk with neighbors when hooded motorists arrived at the demonstration and attacked with firearms.
A bullet gets into Daniel’s head. He was 25 years old and he always helped to support the home where he still lives with his mother, his older sister, and his two nieces; the oldest calls him dad.
After five months in the Los Andes Hospital, and one month in the Social Security Hospital, Daniel Infante returned home. Although he is still unable to fend for himself, his sister Diana Infante says, he has evolved, and she trusts that with proper therapy and medical treatment he will be able to walk, dress and sit at the table to eat with his family, but financial and medical help is indispensable.
The Human Rights Observatory of the Los Andes University recorded more than 2,000 injuries in Merida during the social protests between March and July 2017. In that period, 16 people died as a consequence of attacks on the protests.
Diana Infante became the spokesperson for her brother’s case in the media. In an exclusive interview for El Pitazo, she said the Scientific and Investigation Police went to her house to investigate once time. After that, the police made a report with whose contents she, and her mother disagreed.
“They also tried to talk to my mother in the hospital, but she was emotionally unable to declare. They came to do all the investigative part, the ballistic measurements to see how the events occurred. They made a report but never gave it to me personally. They left it with someone at the hospital. My mom couldn’t sign it when she was there. I looked at the report and they had written thins that I never said so I didn’t sign it. There was never another attempt to approach us,” Diana says.
Head of the family
Diana is not a doctor, actually, she is a computer engineer, but due to the condition of his brother, she had to do a lot of research and learn about medical terms, physiotherapy working, and the importance of emotional health in patients like Daniel.
“My dad died almost eight years ago and also required attention. With Daniel I have done postgraduate work in medicine,” says, half-jokingly Diana, who has become the head of the family, and must to show encouragement every day to maintain the harmony that his brother, mother, daughters, and herself need.
Olga Zambrano, Daniel and Diana’s mother, is a retired teacher, and before what happened to her son, she worked, and between the three of them covered the household expenses. However, for the last three years, she has been exclusively dedicated to taking care of her son.
“My mother never leave the house. She’s a little bit worried about her health, she has problems with her spine. Although a nurse comes three times a week to bathe him and do the most strenuous mobilizations, she is the one who takes care of him and that’s affecting his health,” explains Diana.
“My dream is for him to recover”
Although Daniel’s clinical diagnosis has not changed, his sister assures that he has evolved, and doesn’t lose hope that he can achieve greater recovery.
“I am sure he can improve, not by 100%, maybe 50 or 60%. At the brain level, there could be advances because he is sort of disconnected. He doesn’t move, but he has sensitivity. What happens is that the body does not execute. The medical studies show that he should be able to speak, but he doesn’t, although he does emit sounds to call us,” he describes.
The costs are high
Daniel’s care not only requires absolute attention but also inputs that are more expensive every day. Due to his immobility, he requires diapers, as well as medicines.
“The expenses are high A diaper bag is about $10. He spends weekly packages of diapers and bedding centers. One thing that has helped us is that he’s already out of the gastro-stomach. Although he eats with some difficulty in chewing and swallowing, he already does. This helped us to reduce costs,” says Diana.
To help Daniel Infante, his sister created a campaign on the Go Fund Me platform, which accessed at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/daniel-infante