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. (Mayoclinic.org)

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. (SeattleChildrens.org)

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. (cdc.gov)

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!
Blessings,
Bert

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