Case Study: The Lopez Family

 

Case Study: The Lopez Family

The Lopez family consists of Juan, age 35, Elena, his 30 year-old wife, five children, and Mr. Lopez’s mother, Teresa. The family is second generation Mexican-American from Texas, representative of a stream of Spanish-speaking families who yearly migrate north to harvest a variety of crops. Six months ago the family decided to stay in northern midwest community when Mr. Lopez was offered a permanent job as a farmhand, because they felt the children could have a better education and life than the parents had experienced. Spanish is spoken in the home. Mr. Lopez speaks some English but is unable to read and had no education beyond the fourth grade. Mr. Lopez’s mother speaks only Spanish. The children speak English but are behind in school achievement due to frequent family moves.

The family lives in a five-room house that is on the farm property. Although housekeeping practices are adequate, the home is in poor condition, in need of paint and repairs. It has running water, the source of which is a well. A septic system is used for sewage disposal. There is electricity for lighting and heating and bottled gas is used for cooking.

The family lives rent-free in the house, which is provided by the owner of the farm; utilities are also provided by the owner. Family income is limited to Mr. Lopez’s income of $100 per week and his mother’s income of $65 per month on which the family lives in ten miles from the nearest town. Mr. Lopez has a pickup truck that the family uses for transportation when necessary. However, Mr. Lopez finds it difficult to get off work during daytime hours to take the family in for medical care.

Health problems are evident in the family. Mr. Lopez is in need of dentures and all of the school-age children are in need of dental care, as reported by their teachers. Juanita, age 7, was recently referred for ophthalmological examination following vision screening at school. Francesca, age 3, is in need of medical care for a draining ear. All of the children are behind in their immunizations, the adults in the family do not know which “shots” they have had. Mrs. Lopez is in her seventh month of pregnancy and has not had medical care. The family expresses a desire to obtain care for their children but “we have no extra money to pay a doctor. We can hardly afford to buy food and clothing for the kids.” The question is what solution would be viable to solve the problems of this family?