Monday, July 21, 2008

Mother listens to advice...

A mother came to the clinic with her 2 year old today.
He had been sick for a week.
With the standard history of fever and cough.
They were the first in line when I went out to the gate this morning.
Arriving at 530am waiting for clinic to open at 8am.
When I checked the child, he looked very pale.
So I gave him an ORANGE priority ticket even though he was first in line.
Because I was sure we would prioritize more children and I really wanted to see him first.
15 minutes later, after checking all of the kids in line, we all went inside.
While the nurse checked the boy's vital signs, I took his history.
Then we went off to the lab (just around the corner).
Hemoglobin, malaria smear, glucose.
I hung around to see the first results.
Glucose 8.8 mmol/L = good.
Hemoglobin 4.4 g/dL = not good.
I already knew I would have to refer the child for a blood transfusion.
We then walked back to my office, for me to examine the child.
After which we got the results for the malaria smear: positive.
Malaria and Anemia.
A frequent combination.
A frequent killer.
Time to refer.
Meaning time to make some phone calls.
Unfortunately, the NGO referral hospital was out of beds.
So I had to once again refer to the government-run Children's Hospital.
Which meant money was needed.
Le 15,000 ($3) to see the doctor (compared to Le 1,000 at our place)
Le 30,000 ($10) for a blood tranfusion.
And money for medication.
These are vast amounts of money for the average person here.
Fortunately the mother had been given a decent sum of money from the uncle.
This would cover most costs, but not all, so I topped it off a bit.
It sounded like this mother would actually take her child there for admission.
Only time would tell.
Fortunately she had a had a phone number we could call, which we later did.

When we called, the mother told us they had just started transfusing the child!
So, he had been seen by a doctor and was on treatment already.
Good news.
He is on the road to recovery.
I'm happy to post a happy ending to a consultation this time.
A mother that takes our advice and goes where we tell her to go.
Many times it's these initial steps that are so difficult for them to take.
Due to financial constraints, traditional beliefs, family pressures, etc.
Hopefully this child will get well quickly.

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