Five Tough Medical Cases

We’ve faced many tough medical cases since we’ve been at G2. Some are tough because of medical complications. Others, because of the non-medical circumstances surrounding the case. Still others because of both.

Here are five tough cases we faced recently. Not each of these cases was technically difficult, but each had surrounding circumstances that created significant complications.

(Warning — If you get queasy, the photos below may be disturbing to view.)

1. Six-Week Old Baby with Pyloric Stenosis

Pyloric stenosis is an uncommon condition in infants that blocks food from entering the small intestine. (

This baby went home two days post op. Pray for total healing.

2. Twenty-month-old child with Imperforate Anus 

Imperforate anus means there is no opening at the end of the digestive tract where the anus normally is. This condition can take several forms. (

The patient had a colostomy at birth (one of those nasty loop colostomies). The patient went home four days post op.

3. Ten-Day-Old Baby B.B. with Gastroschisis

Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The baby’s intestines are found outside of the baby’s body, exiting through a hole beside the belly button. (

When this baby, B.B., was born, her parents took her to another hospital. The parents say they put a compress on the intestines and told the parents to bring the baby back in two months!

After spending most of their money at the other hospital (for worse than nothing) the parents could only pay 15 % of their surgery bill.

B.B. was ten days old when we received her. Her intestines outside the abdomen were dry and all stuck together.

I’ve never dealt with this type of case this old. Previous cases I’ve managed were one to two days old, not ten days old.

She was really dehydrated but seemed to be getting better after IV fluids.

suspended sack technique for Gastroschisis.Usually, this suspended sack technique works as the intestines gradually,  over a week or so, enter the peritoneal cavity by gravity.

Then the defect in the abdominal wall is closed surgically. This sack is a ziplock bag.

Sadly, we were unable to save B.B. She died November 18th. Please pray for B.B.’s parents.

4. Five-year-old boy with a partial amputation of his thumb.

Partial amputation of thumbI took this five-year-old boy with part of his thumb amputated into the operating room.

The father was out of town, so the mother and the boy’s uncle signed the consent for surgery. But they could only pay 25% of the bill ($20). Of course, we immediately operated on the boy, anyway.

When the father got to the hospital he was very angry with his wife for allowing us to fix his son’s thumb.

He insisted on having a refund of the $20 and threatened our administrator, who ended up returning the money and letting the boy leave the hospital.

Happy Ending: I was making rounds at about 9 pm the next night, and the father of the boy tracked me down. Our staff remembered him and were defensive from the get-go.
I asked them to back off and let him have his say.
As it turns out he lives very near the hospital. He reminded me that I had operated on his father and that he’d recovered well.
He then apologized for his actions and told me he and his family appreciate what we’ve done for the village of Guinebor ll.
He assured me that Monday he will pay his son’s bill. We shook hands and I congratulated him for making the right decision and for having the humility to apologize and try to make things right.
I told him that Jesus sent us here because He loves them and that I was more concerned with making sure his son was taken care of well than the money.
I had told his brother before I operated on the boy that I would go ahead and do the best I could to repair the thumb, and if the father was an honorable man, he would pay the bill the next day. When the father cooled down the next day, I suspect his brother told him what I said.
Anyway, some stories have happy endings. The father and I shook hands and parted friends.
I am praying the people of Chad will begin to associate fairness, kindness, patience, compassion, and competence with disciples of Jesus. 

5. Emergency C-Section

Recently, I had a pretty full operating schedule but before I could start my first case, I was informed that a young lady with her first pregnancy was making no progress in labor and the baby was in distress.

I hurried to maternity and confirmed that she needed a STAT C-Section.

Then I was informed the family was against her undergoing a C-section! She had left another hospital earlier that day when a C-section was proposed.

I informed the family that the patient would likely lose the baby and perhaps her life unless we did a C-section. The poor young patient seemed to have no vote in this decision and the husband was not present.

Having been through this before, I knew that the delay could lead to disastrous results as the baby was already in trouble.

Feeling overwhelmed to be able to reason with these Muslim folks, I just stopped and prayed aloud asking Jesus to take charge of the situation and save the mother and baby.

As I was walking away from the maternity building, I saw a young man walking toward the building. I greeted him, and he understood French. I asked if he was the young patient’s husband and he said he was.

I quickly explained why she needed a C-section and asked him to sign the operative consent. He agreed!

At surgery we found the umbilical cord wrapped three times around the baby’s neck.

Debbie resuscitated the baby and both the mom and baby are now doing well. Amen!

Please pray for all these patients and/or their families!

Our French Connection

Our welcome guests and Physical Therapists from France, Clément Rimaud and Elise Grange

We’re really blessed that Elise Grange, an experienced French physical therapist, has been sent to serve with us for four months by our partner mission, SIM France/Belgium.

Elise is already making a real difference. Debbie and I have been her patients as well as have been other missionaries and nationals.

Clément Rimaud, a colleague from France, but not associated with a mission, has been visiting friends in Ethiopia. He decided to drop by for a visit as well. He, too, is already making a positive impact.

Today in the operating room there were people from Chad, the UK, Sweden, France, and the USA!

November Praise & Prayer Requests


We praise the Lord that we have some short-termers from France and the UK here now. A  General Practitioner, a Pharmacist, and two Physical Therapists for 2-4 months.

Our main reason for being here is to reach unreached people groups for Christ. But another reason for being here is to minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are also on the front line.

We’ve been able to patch up some of them and their children so they could return quickly to their ministries. We’ve also treated some of the national colleagues who serve the Lord with them.

The missionaries know when they send patients here there is a Christian witness.

Debbie, despite wearing several caps, is holding up well. This is a praise item.



My knee, in a word, is bad. It’s not much better now than before surgery. The long hours of standing in the OR here are taking its toll. I will almost certainly need a total knee when we return to the US next year.

In the meantime, your prayers that the Lord will intervene and help me make it another 6.5 months are appreciated. Hey, or for total healing! We’ve been back a month already so time marches on.

It is obvious that I must pull out of some of this work, but there is no replacement in surgery yet.


CEF and our partner missions, Baptist Mission Society UK, SIM France/Belgium, and Lutheran Brethren US, have been unable to recruit another surgeon yet.

The greatest need in this area of Chad is surgery. There are other hospitals that can handle many of the nonsurgical problems, but here we do a broad variety of surgical procedures.

For example, in the last few of days, I operated on a six-week-old baby with pyloric stenosis and one with an imperforate anus. Both usually are lethal conditions if no surgeon is available.

We had a young man yesterday with a head injury, fractured hip, and intra-abdominal injuries from a motorcycle accident.

We usually do a couple of prostate operations and thyroidectomies and mastectomies each week as well as many hernias, hysterectomies,  C-sections, etc.

We will soon open our new surgical center that will have four Operating Rooms. We have only one OR now, and it gets stressful when we’re in the middle of a case and have an emergency such as a stat C-section.


To run a hospital like this one without everyone getting burned out requires more depth in staff. Thus the reason to seek more partners.

All of our current partner missions have other projects in Chad in addition to this hospital.

The other missions that plan to meet with us at our Summit on January 13, 2018, also have other ministries in Chad.

It is to all missionaries’ personal advantage to have at least one dependable mission hospital in the area.

Thanks for your prayers!

Bert & Debbie

Loving the Advantages of Mission Partnerships

Welcome Claire Bedford, long-term missionary pharmacist (on the left) and just-arrived, short-term missionary, Dr. Marilyn, from the UK (on the right.)

Dr. Marilyn will be here for over two months. She has partial training in anesthesia and will help us improve that department as well as rotate through other departments.

We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Elise and Clement from SIM France. They are physical therapists.

We are loving the advantages of mission partnerships!

The Role of Medical Missions From My Perspective

Bert & Joel Oubre operate
Bert and Joel Oubre, July 2016

Often lesser-informed people refer to medical missions as “social work.”

From my perspective, it is one of the most effective ways to reach people for Christ IF the spiritual work is intentionally focused on.

If only the medical aspect is focused on, it can be all-consuming.

Thus, there must be a somewhat detailed plan to try to share the Truth with every inpatient. Sharing with every outpatientis more difficult if the clinic is busy, but it should still be the goal.

When people have health needs, they’ll seek help– especially if they have pain or their medical problem is interfering with their daily routine .

Here, in Chad, this may mean going to a traditional healer where they may make incisions in their skin over the part of the body that hurts, or worse, burn the skin with a hot steel rod. Even babies are abused out of ignorance or under the control of the Evil One.

Sometimes patients even lose life or limb when an arm or leg with a presumed fracture is splinted so tightly that the circulation is compromised and the result is gangrene. Often this is when the patient is finally brought to us.

I’ve found patients will listen to the truth about Jesus when they have a poor prognosis or are terminal. Several here have put their trust in Jesus for salvation under such circumstances. There is a rich ministry among these sad cases.

Overall, the medical arena allows patients to see Jesus and His love and compassion alive in His disciples as they serve the patients and each other.

If a person is suffering, kindness and compassion along with efforts to help them is an International language well-understood by the recipient. These patients come from all corners of Chad and most tribes, and they seek us out.


We Have Solar Power!

Debbie and I are with the PowerQuest team next to our wonderful new solar array for the guest house.

Bill Wright, in the orange shirt, is the PowerQuest founder and president. His wife, Jackie, is standing in front of him. They live in Boone, NC. Standing to Bill’s right is Ryan Wenger, from Winston-Salem, NC. To Bill’s left is Peter Schrug from NC and to his left is Noah Dalton, from Colorado.

These wonderful folks just completed three weeks with us here on the campus of Hopital de Guinebor ll. They worked hard in this hot and dry weather to install our new solar power system.

Today I did surgery in our OR and enjoyed good lights, electrocautery, and even A/C!

Our outpatient clinic, ER, maternity, and wards have 24/7 electricity. Adequate lighting has added security to G2.

We praise and thank God for this power team. May He protect and bless them as they travel back to the US.


A Tiny Taste of Heaven

A Tiny Taste of Heaven ~ Welsh and Americans serving together at G2.

Cutting Edge Foundation (CEF) was founded in the USA in 2002. Now we have disciples of Jesus serving here either at the hospital or the school in long term or short term roles from several states and countries — USA, England, Scotland, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Cameroon, and Chad.

Later this month two will arrive from France. Five just left here from Wales. Next month several will serve here from Egypt. Two of our doctors are originally from The Central African Republic.

How wonderful when people from many nations serve the Lord Jesus and worship Him together! A tiny taste of heaven.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands
~ Revelation 7:9

The Samaritan’s Purse/WMM Containers Have Finally Arrived

October 17, 2017:

Container #1 arrived!

Eric and Janet Tangen (above in pink blouse) and Debbie (below in scrubs) worked with some of the staff to empty the container of everything except the parts that will be used to install our new solar power system.

The Powerquest team arrives tonight and they will start installing the system tomorrow (October 18, 2017).

This system will significantly improve patient care as well as work conditions for our staff.

October 27, 2017:

Container #2 Arrived!

After many weeks of suspense and frustration and prayer, both of the containers with supplies from Samaritan’s Purse/WMM have been offloaded at Hopital de Guinebor ll!