Monday, January 18, 2010

Elsewhere in the world...

With the devastation in Haiti, it's hard to think of much else these days. However, I am aware that all over the world there are men, women and children suffering. We live in a world full of poverty. A world full of hurt and suffering.

Through email I have been helping out of a friend of mine in Sierra Leone. She came across a 9 year old child, in need of healthcare. So, I find my thoughts lingering to Sierra Leone, a country I once called home. And thinking how much easier it would be to help this child if I were actually there. But I am not, and email will have to suffice.

The child is 9 years old, abandoned by her mother and living with her grandmother. She is ill and her picture reveals that she has been sick for some time. There is not much history to be told. The grandmother said something about the child falling off of a hammock and having deformities of her chest wall since then. In Sierra Leone, complicated cases always go hand in hand with a history of a fall. I suppose they want to link the disease with a cause. Any cause. This child is obviously malnourished, has a deformed vertebrae and a very protruding chest wall. My first thought is spinal tuberculosis, otherwise known as Pott's disease. However, the very outspoken protrusion and an x-ray revealing a large mass make me wonder. Could this be something else? Are there multiple things going on at once? Is the mass a more serious condition, a tumor? I decide to request the help of a few extremely experienced doctors. And to my delight, they agree. Spinal TB. Not only am I happy that I was on the right track, but I am happy because spinal TB is a disease that can be treated in Sierra Leone AND at very little cost. Of course, other matters are not entirely ruled out, as none of us have actually examined this patient and the option of a CT scan is not available. But for now I think that this child will start anti-tuberculosis treatment this week and take her first steps in the long journey to recovery.

I am hopeful.

No comments:

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