Maria's Success Story

posted Jan 21, 2014, 8:47 AM by Blh Webber   [ updated Jan 21, 2014, 8:48 AM ]

Our own Maria Murphy was caring for a family that had seemed to have lost their hope and dreams.  The patient, Ms. Rosa Martinez,  was referred by the Department of Family Medicine's own Dr. Kumanova three months ago.  Ms. Rosa and her twelve year old son, Anderson, are in this country illegally (though Ms. Rosa's five year old girl, Rufina, was born here).  Ms. Rosa has been surviving in this country for the past twelve years struggling through a variety of challenges.  Three years ago, Ms. Rosa who is now 33 years old, had a stroke. Some of the effects of her stroke include impaired speech and she has lost the ability to write.  Since Ms. Rosa had her stroke, due to the complications of her stroke and an inability to speak English, her twelve year old son, Anderson, has been advocating for his mother.  Upon meeting Anderson, Maria was immediately struck by his maturity.  After a few discussions with Anderson, Maria realized that this family was in need of a lot of assistance.  Anderson had said on numerous occasions to Maria, "That God does not exist, because if he did my father would have never abandoned us here and gone back to his homeland just because my mom had a stroke.”  Maria was moved by their situation into action. 

Once Maria took this case, she began meeting with the family for hours and accompanying them to appointments, sometimes spending an entire day advocating for them.  Maria reminded herself throughout this time that,  “I can take the responsibility to and Rosa's advocate, so Anderson can be a boy.”  Anderson does not own any kind of games that other kids his age have.  He also often despairs, feeling no hope of getting help to improve his mother’s immigration status. 

While providing assistance,  at one point Maria asked Ms. Rosa what her hopes and dreams were.  Ms. Rosa, replied stating she wants to be obtain her legal residency in place and be able to get a job so she can provide for her children.  In addition to helping her manage her health, Maria had arranged for Ms. Rosa to meet with a pro bono immigration attorney to assist with her immigration status.   Maria, with the help of Rosemarie Jones one of our CHWs, was also referred to NYCHA so that she may obtain better housing. 

This week Maria received an excited telephone call from the pro bono attorney that is handling Ms. Rosa’s case.  The attorney informed Maria that Ms. Rosa’s immigration application for legal residency was going to be granted!  Maria immediately called Ms. Rosa to give her the exciting news, which was met with profuse screaming and gratitude to Maria for being in her life.  Ms. Rosa said, “Maria, I want to say many things to you but I can’t get words out of my mouth.”  She thanked God for bringing the people who assisted her into her life.  Ms. Rosa said, “He gave me my son to advocate for me in this time of crisis and when I could not even speak, read or write.  He  gave me my little one so the three of us can eat, because the little one was born in this country and I was able to get food stamps. And now he gave me you to help me get my residency!”

Our role as a CHW is so valuable.  By asking questions, not judging the patient, going by Ms. Rosa's agenda not Maria's and with all the TIME in the world, Maria was able to recover the hope that this family had lost.

Romelia Rodriguez

CHW Program Administrator

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