Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Aminata* and her 9 month old son, Alpha*, came to our center on Wednesday the 19th of October after a day long journey from Kabala to Freetown. Aminata was to be admitted for her vesico vaginal fistula operation.

They arrived at the center just as I was leaving for the day. However, it only took a minute to see that the baby was pale, had a terrible skin rash (scabies with infection), was underweight (5.6 kg) and had pneumonia. I had a few minutes to get him started on the proper medication, before going home. The next morning I did a complete examination- the baby had developed a fever overnight, had a large spleen and was quite pale. He was vomiting and not tolerating oral medication. Blood tests confirmed malaria and a hemoglobin of 5 g/dl. Usually when treating a VVF patient’s child it is like treating one of the out patient children- see the child, prescribe medication and explain to the mother how to give them. The only difference is the out patient children go home, the VVF patient’s child stays on the ward. With Alpha, I knew it was not wise to treat the baby as an ‘out patient’ on the ward. What made the decision of what to do difficult is that I knew that Aminata’s surgery was supposed to get her surgery within the enxt hour. I decided to cancel Aminata’s (elective) surgery and refer Alpha to the pediatric ward at Emergency hospital. In the end it was good that the child was referred- his Hb dropped to 4.4 g/dl and he ended up needing a blood transfusion as well as intravenous antimalarial treatment.

On Monday the 25th mother and child returned to us. Alpha looked much better. He did still have a chest infection and scabies, so I treated those and checked up on him everyday. I also had to make sure he was breast feeding frequently as well as eating solid foods. He was a joy to have around and it was great to see him improve so much. Aminata was able to have her surgery the following day and recovered quickly. Two weeks later, on November 9th, we were able to send home a healthy dry mother and a healthy happy baby. It was great to be a part of their lives.

*names have been changed

Friday, November 04, 2005

Encouraging notes...

A suggestion boxed was placed on the clinic's reception desk a few weeks ago. It was originally put there so that our employees can make their suggestions known. However, when we emptied it before our staff meeting last week we saw that there were only 2 suggestions in the box...and neither were from our employees, but from people from the Aberdeen community. I was encouraged by the notes.

Concerned Citizen - Aberdeen Community
“Appreciate the outpatient doctor for doing a wonderful job and healing to our children because she is the only one and she is doing a tremendous job. She loves the job more than the income and we appreciate.”

Concerned Mother – Aberdeen Community
“We appreciate and very greatful to the outpatient doctor. The medication are very very good and very very cheap and we are greatful for that. We will appreciate it more if you will see all the patient’s that are present in the morning. Above all we are happy to have you (Mercy Ship) in our community. Bravo to the outpatient doctor.”

Fun to read and to know that the clinic is appreciated (and we do try to see as many kids as possible, but more than 40 a day gets tough!

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~