Saturday, April 27, 2013

Patient This Week

I walked into the room that serves as my clinic as the nurse called out for me to come help. As I turned the corner I saw the medical officer (someone who has completed medical school, but hasn’t done any further training). His face showed fear and uncertainty. He realized that an emergency was beginning, but wasn’t sure where to go from there. A young woman stood before him with blood gushing down her legs and pooling onto the floor. She had been to two hospitals over the past days, and was not treated at either – but now things were getting desperate. I asked some questions about her history,  I gave a few orders, put her in the wheelchair, and headed for the OR. As I had glanced at the ultrasound from an outside facility, I knew that she had a molar pregnancy (an abnormal pregnancy that is dangerous and doesn’t have an actual baby inside) and was now hemorrhaging. Her belly was big and full. She had thought all this time that it was just a normal baby. I told her that there was a chance that she could have to have a hysterectomy if the bleeding wasn’t able to be stopped. She begged to do as much as possible to allow her to have children in the future. She said she wanted to wait for her husband to come, but I told her that she would likely die by then, and that we had to act immediately. So, we found ourselves in the OR. Her blood pressures and pulse were sky high from complications related to this abnormal pregnancy. I asked the anesthetist to give some medications. I prayed and started.

She lost a couple of liters of blood over the next few minutes. We didn’t have the appropriate instruments for this type of procedure, but quickly and furiously I began to complete a D&C on her. Finally I could tell that we were starting to win. The blood was slowing down. The products from within the uterus had come out. Tissue and blood covered the floor. My hand was cramping as it clung to the instrument used for scraping inside her womb. Finally I knew that it was going to be okay, and freed my hand from the grasp for a minute.

The procedure was completed. I removed my gown and washed my boots. It all turned out alright, but it wasn’t the way it should have been done. We didn’t have the instruments, the labs. The pregnancy was too big, and the risks so high. But we made it. I called a doctor back in the US when the rush was over. The medical complications with the severe blood pressures and such were the first I had ever seen that were so advanced. The books would say to make sure you have a doctor available with significant experience managing such complications. Well, nope, I’m not that doctor, so I figured I better confirm with someone who was. The doctor answered the phone, at which time I realized that it was still night back at home. Sorry to bother you, and good early morning from Africa! I explained the situation and they graciously advised that there was nothing more to do than what I was already doing. I didn’t want to miss anything. And I just wanted somebody to hold my hand for a minute since the case was pretty complicated. Oh how thankful I was for someone to walk through it with me even from a continent away.

But really, it wasn’t just the doctor that held my hand and walked with me. The Lord provided for that woman. We didn’t have the things that we needed to really take care of her correctly. Her life was truly in danger. But only a few minutes later she was significantly improved, and at the start of a long road back to normal. Another time when we didn’t have enough, and ultimately we were not enough in ourselves, but God was gracious and brought a good outcome in spite of what we lacked. How often he does this. One lifetime is not enough to praise Him for His goodness. Over and over again I see it, trickling all around me in day to day circumstance. But it is bigger than I can even often realize – besides that trickle there is an overwhelming flood that is poured out onto mankind in general, and then specifically onto His children. He is indeed so very good.   

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your amazing stories. God is doing some wonderful things through you. Please keep posting, it is helping me get through my pre med studies.

    God bless,