Friday, June 1, 2018

A special patient

June 1st, 2018
This is a very special little boy.  He received 8 blood transfusions because he continued to destroy his red blood cells (hemolytic anemia).   Everyday his condition was critical.  He could not get out of bed and refused all food.  Everything we tried didn’t control the hemolysis.  The family asked to go home, thinking all hope was gone.  

Congo is a place where the adequate lab work is often not available to give a clear diagnosis.  It plausible that this was all caused by sickle cell anemia and a bloodstream infection.  It is often with an advancing clinical course that we understand what is going on.  Back to the case....

I pleaded with the grandfather who is the family leader.  I asked to speak with the father.  I asked them to trust me as someone who has studied medicine and to plead with God.  I said, “you know cows much better than I do, likewise I know medicine.”  I asked if he would let me care for his cows knowing nothing about it.  The answer was “of course not.”  I pleaded with him to trust me.

In the end he underwent a splenectomy as a life-saving measure (and the final 2 transfusions), thanks to Warren.  Within two days of having a large surgery he was up walking and playing!  His hemoglobin has not fallen since then!  Praise the Lord!

The family has the testimony that they serve a BIG God who can do amazing things!  It is about medicine on one hand and the glory of God at the same time. I was reminded again that people trust us with their lives and that medicine is a holy vocation.  It is not just a job.

We hope and pray that he continues to do well at home.