A teenager is still in a minimally conscious state after she had a severe allergic reaction to a protein shake containing pistachio eight months ago.
Now Marta Perez’s parents are worried that she may be transferred out the hospital that is treating her because her care is too expensive.
Marta, 19, had a severe allergic reaction after consuming a protein shake containing pistachio on 28th September.
She had asked if the shake contained pistachio prior to drinking it but had been told that it did not contain the nut.
She was immediately taken to Hospital Verge dels Lliris in Alcoi, Spain, where she spent three months.
She was then transferred to Hospital Vithas Valencia Consuelo in Valencia, where she is receiving specialised neurorehabilitation treatment.
Her parents, Juan and Maria, are now worried that Marta will be sent back to the lesser facility in Alcoi on 19th June because of the cost of her current treatment.
The Valencia Region public healthcare department has allegedly told the couple that it can no longer afford the monthly cost of EUR 10,000 at the private facility.
But mum Maria says that her daughter’s life depends on her continued care in Valencia.
She says that Marta is making progress there and now responds more to stimuli. If sent back to Alcoi, she says, the teenager will not receive the same treatment.
Maria told local media: “They don’t have any of the things she has now. They want you to lie in bed and deteriorate in a matter of months.”
She has claimed that the treatment that her daughter received in Alcoi was poor and has even reported the hospital for “medical negligence”.
Despite the Valencia Region public healthcare department insisting otherwise, Maria says that the teenager’s life “was in danger” at the first facility.
The mum says that she does not understand why the authorities want to remove Marta from the hospital in Valencia when she is making progress there and cannot be offered the same therapy elsewhere.
The parents – who have another, 11-year-old child – work but cannot afford the treatment themselves.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers who have followed Marta’s plight from afar, the couple have been able to purchase a shower chair and an adapted bed for the family home in Ibi, where the teenager has spent the past four weekends.
Maria said of the doctors in Valencia: “They are fully committed to her. Marta arrived at the hospital in a very bad condition, and everyone was deeply shocked by her state.
“They went through anguish for her life and saw that she not only recovered but is also making progress.”
The doctors currently treating Marta say that she would not have access to the neurorehabilitation treatment she is currently receiving elsewhere.
Maria told local media: “They are going to write a report to the hospital in Alcoi to explain all of this.”
She added: “Every time someone comes and sees her, they all agree and say, ‘She looks much better to me, I see it in her face.’
“She listens to you. She says ‘mum’ a lot, and I have managed to get her to say ‘hello’, ‘water’.”
At the hospital in Valencia, researchers have recorded videos asking Marta’s family questions about happy moments with or anecdotes involving the teenager.
They have used electrode data to monitor her brain’s response before repeating the process with strangers and comparing the differences.
Maria said: “With this study and the gathered information, they are able to tell you, as they did last time, that Marta understands everything perfectly and that her brain responds immediately, not slowly.
“It responds immediately to any command and stimulus, but she is not yet capable of executing it.”
Another test performed in the hospital has shown that the “conductor” of Marta’s brain is intact.
The teenager has also received a therapy at the hospital that involves wearing a helmet with small stimulations on the vagus nerve to analyse the brain’s connections with the body.
Maria said of the hospital: “It has advanced technology.”
She added that many people who have been treated there can now walk, speak, and lead fulfilling lives.
Updates on the family’s battle to keep Marta at the hospital in Valencia can be found at www.ayudamarta.com.