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The Guardian Angel of Guatemala: Profiles by VICE

The Guardian Angel of Guatemala: Profiles by VICE

Here in Guatemala, the fire department gets called for everything. We have a paramedic unit, and we have a hazmat, we have animal control. We have disaster control.
Obviously fires. The gunshot wounds here in the city prevail a little bit more, we have around 10 to 15 per day. And on the weekends Just in the metropolitan area we are sent to 2530. The violence that we see here, It’s actually the same type of violence that we saw during the war, with High-velocity projectiles from AK-47s from MCCs, from many uses. These are trained acts guerrilla, these are organized gangs. People that used to be soldiers, or people that used to be guerrillas all of a sudden, they were unemployed. So all they knew what to do, was kill. [Child crying and wailing] My name is Jorge Chiu. I’m a physician. I work at the Volunteer Fire Department here in Guatemala. I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon, that donates his time for the fire department. After I finish working, generally, I come in and give volunteer service. I believe in that greater good. [Fireman] …that’s the problem, this are the houses that are improvised, and secondary to that. They just throw their garbage in the backyard, so this is what happens. It caught fire, and the fire went up, it already burned one of the little houses, that’s we were trying to confined it. But as you can see this, again a pile of just crap there Here in Guatemala police, [we] don’t take people into custody for public intoxication. So it’s very common sometimes, they get really drunk and they just die on the streets. [unintelligible] caballero, como estamos? [Let’s go!] Hmm. See these guys are out of their minds. They’re not even drinking rum, it’s like pure alcohol. This is what happens. They’re getting toxicated. They just pass out in the middle of the road, and then a car drives on top of it. I have to make sure that air is, all the air is out from the engine before we can hit the road again. Pain in the ass, and sometimes if we delayed a little bit longer, I have to open the hood, go into the engine. Kind of… you know. Lead it a little bit to get the air out and then close it again, so it sucks. cause, you’re dealing with blood, and then you’re dealing with diesel. But you have to be a doctor, a paramedic, a firefighter and a mechanic. We’re just going to go in check, and I call it inside the city dump. This is a city by its own, has its own rules. The government tries to not let any cameras inside. Looks like the kids, they just get clothes, new clothes from the garbage and they just change. So it’s really sad. Look at the atmosphere. How much dust and filth there is around. It’s very difficult to localize a patient here because the smoke, the air quality, the dust. There’s so much disease here. A lot of people are walking in the garbage, and they just fall into pockets of air and they disappear. And we never find them. Ever. Kids like these ones are prone to have all these infections. They have biological waste, plastic waste, the toxic waste, chemical waste, everything is here. And I will be also pretty surprised if these people don’t have outbreaks of different cancers. And then we have the problem also like there, that it’s smoking the garbage and starts fires, because all the methane that accumulates underneath that, blows up. So this is the other side of the coin of Guatemala, that a lot of even Guatemalans don’t even get to see. quadate quieto! He got off of his car, and he was ready to probably open the gate or something. Somebody came close to him and in close range took a shot to the skull. It doesn’t look like a vengeance, it doesn’t look like like a gang-related. It looks a little bit more like a personal thing that somebody had against this this person. Police generally just secures the area, but they don’t take any action. Actually, all they do is a just a secure the area, and then you know, CSI will try to, kind of, find out w-what’s going on? So, at this point, we exactly don’t know. A lot of things from, from what it’s going on or what happened. Look at the dog licking the blood. Happy, why were you drinking the blood of the dead person? Huh? That’s not okay. This is an area, that has a lot of conflict. Not only with gangs, drug dealing and a lot of crime. This area is actually patrolled by the army on weekends, there’s shootouts. Right now we have a, collision of this bus, that apparently the brakes went out and the driver of the bus, apparently he fled the scene, but they captured him. So, right now, I’m just making sure that he doesn’t have a chest trauma. If he has a pericardial effusion, his pressure will drop. I really wish, wish they will give me more space to work, you know. [Cameraman]: Yeah. This is like a cluster flock , being here with all these people around. Fucking crazy man. If I wouldn’t be here, they probably will just bring him in a patrol car, and he will have died. When we were right here, you know, taking care of these people from the bus, there were two shootings in some other areas of the city that we missed. So you know, I’m the only doctor right now, taking call for the fire department in the whole city. Wherever I go that people gets lucky and the People that you know, I don’t get to go, they just become unlucky. See a lot of people waiting outside. [unintelligible over the radio] [Cameraman]: Yeah, how come is anybody inside. T-these are family members. A lot of these people come wounded. We don’t know if they’re gang members, we don’t know if they’re drug dealers. There’s a gate, where they don’t let regular people just walking and ask for their relatives because they’re afraid of them. [They] will come in finish shooting, so sometimes working in the emergency departments can be a big, big risk. He got hit by a car actually. He got shot, he was running away, and he got hit by a car. The average wounded patients that we have, are from our high-velocity projectiles are around seven to ten per week. You barely have equipment, and a lot of times, it’s not even sterilized. They have to re-utilize the equipment, so it’s kind of like a war zone. I just find enormous pleasure, to see that somebody is alive, because of me. More than what I’m going to earn in monetary wise. Do we have a lot of risks? I think yes. We have also a lot of rewards and, and we are very proud of what we do. We try to think at least, that we make a difference.

100 comments on “The Guardian Angel of Guatemala: Profiles by VICE

  1. The world is all too dark, but this man right here is a small glimmer of light and for that I say keep on rocking Guardian Angel of Guatemala

  2. Jorge Chiu, eres un hombre increíble y estoy tan orgullosa tenerte en mi vida. Tu trabajo es único y tu corazón de oro. Un gran hombre.

  3. I lived in Guatemala for five years and currently have dual citizenship. This short was very well put together as well as informative. Thank you

  4. Imagine if you had an entire country with clones of this man it would be the biggest superpower to rival that of the US in economy, production, education, research.

  5. In many ways you are very incredible. You make a difference to anyone you saved. You have some purpose more important to you than money, you have reward that is more important than money.

    You got that right.

  6. Bendiciones de las más bellas para ti y para cada uno de ustedes que dedican sus vidas para servir como ejemplos de lo que se puede lograr con Amor, compasión, y comprensión.

  7. There are several heroes here in Guatemala City…..My Dentist (Oral surgeon) was late for my appointment , I inquired as to why – "He is doing charity reconstructive surgery on a child at the public hospital" I chose to wait for him – no matter how long it took! Hat's off to you Dr Alex! And to those like you!

  8. No thank you so much for helping the people of Guatemala. You truly are a hero. I wish more people would understand that with love and a helping hand much can be accomplished. I will be positing this video….. thank you vice productions as well

  9. That doctor and the other volunteers have a heart larger than the country they live in! People like them are very rare and hard to come by!!!

  10. As a paramedic in America, this is shocking to watch. Such disrespect for the field, crowding of victims and the emergency responders working on them, blatant and boundary-less gawking from every bystander, and disgusting hospitals. Equipment from the 1980s meets medieval living conditions. Truly disturbing.

  11. 07:21 this
    … :/
    idk why sticks the most to me

    She is hiding but still got killed

    in kneeling in her own pool of blood
    gosh dang
    probably coming home from work or being with her friends

    just gone
    never to see her family again

  12. Linda mi Guatemala uno de Los 10 paises mas bonitos del mundo pero uno de Los mas peligrosos tambien sobre todo en la capital.

  13. HUGE respect to educated and skilled people who choose to stick around and make their struggling country a better place. He could have copped out and moved his family to any number of better-off places, but there he is serving his people in his nation. Enorme chapín.

  14. I had an experience when I went to Guatemala to visit my family whenever i was going to the airport to head back there was a dead body in the street The police were there covering it and examining what had happened I was frightened because I knew things like this happen but I never thought to see it for myself. It is so upsetting for me because this is a country that I am proud to say that is mine. Of course not the violence and everything but the beauty and the difference you don’t get to see anywhere else. Then knowing not many people will help but critique the country for the violence instead of trying to help by loaning or giving us medical supplies or even some food maybe… but no they watch behind a television just judging a country that shouldn’t be judged. But loved by many

  15. know a country can be pretty gnarly when a dog licking the blood of a guy who just got capped in the street is no big thing. Respect for the doctor. Guys like him are super rare these days.

  16. 10 shots dud new york GETS 1000 shots a day but are police and fire Department are way better no offense dud i fell bad for you 😭😭 you have a big heart man god bless you

  17. Who are the 74 people that hit the thumbs down button? Are they like paramedics in even more fucked up situations who think they are better…or just assholes?

  18. If I ever get rich I will make sure this is not happening. It doesn’t make any sense how there is so much poverty this day in age.

  19. if your going to go to guatemala jut now your going to the shittiest part of guatemala. Been there 5 times and its a huge shit whole

  20. Guatemala is a failure and of course polices don’t do nothing and the hospital doesn’t have enough medical equipment and not enough doctors in that city because if the fuckin govt doesn’t do anything to secure and help their people fuck the Guatemalan government. God bless the guardian angel

  21. People out here complaining about white cops shooting black people (which is sad)… when areas like these have volunteer firefighters and have rediculous amounts of violence… always be thankful

  22. All my love and respect to the men and women del cuerpo de bomberos voluntarios who risk their lives to save lives…. and a very special thanks to Jorge Chiu for his tremendous humanitarian work in Guatemala.

  23. Life outside of the US is truly crazy. Obviously not talking about like Germany, France ect, talking about south america, the middle east. It's crazy how far behind some civilizations are… and a lot of them dont even know what exists over here in the US…

  24. crazy how calm he is with all those people around. Hes very bothered by it but still does his volunteer job! much respect.

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