Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What happened to the 3 week old...

Yesterday something rather unfortunate took place.
Firstly, there were more than 80 children at the gate in the morning.
So we let in 60 and turned away 20.
However, we did let 2 of those 20 children in, because they just didn’t look good.
One of these was a 3 week old girl.

She was febrile, breathing at 82 per minute and not breastfeeding well.
Bad signs.
I took her to the lab rather quickly to check her hemoglobin, blood sugar etc.
And then I examined her, noting the many boils and her swollen upper arm.
This seriously ill child needed to be referred for iv antibiotics.

I called the free NGO hospital nearby to see if they had a bed available.
To my surprise they had a bed and told me to send the child.
I asked the mother if she had money for transportation.
She said no, but she would go home to get it.
I told her there was no time for delay and gave her Le 5,000 (< $2) for transport.

As she walked out she asked me “Do you think my child will be okay?”
I answered confidently “As long as you go straight to the hospital and admit your child, I think she will get better”.

A few hours later I received a text message on my phone.
“Your child arrived and then left to try traditional medicine instead! Sorry!”
I called the NGO hospital to find out what happened.
The child was about to be admitted and then the mother disappeared.
Apparently she told moms in the waiting area she was going to try traditional medicine.

What happened?
Why would she come to our clinic early in the morning if she didn’t want her child to be treated?
Why did she ask me if I thought her child would get better if she wasn’t going to follow through?
Why did she use the Le 5,000 to go up to Emergency only to leave again?
What made the mother change her mind?

Unfortunately, the ending of this story seems all too obvious.
I cannot imagine this child would have survived without proper medical treatment.
I can only assume that this child has died.
Why does this keep happening?
What has to change in this country, in these people's way of thinking, to stop this?

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