efe-epaBy Maria M.Mur Santiago

Paola Martinez opens the door, but excuses herself immediately before disappearing into the next room. Her nephew, Mario Acuña, is due for his vitamins and a change of dressing and if she's even a minute late, "the kid gets upset," the aunt-turned-caretaker says.

Acuña, 44, is from a poor family and his parents are dead. So when the hospital discharged him in March after five months, Paola brought him back to her home.

Bedridden and unable to speak, Mario relies on a tracheotomy tube to breathe and takes nourishment through a gastrotomy tube inserted into his abdomen.