Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hemorrhage

Blood is a precious commodity here. Negative blood groups are rare, so often blood is unavailable for Rh negative patients. Patients scheduled for elective surgery must come with family/friends to donate blood prior to surgery. Staff members are often called upon to donate. And since HIV and anemia are common, many people are ineligible to donate. 

Yesterday a patient arrived hemorrhaging that we took for C/S. The baby just 24 weeks old had already passed, and despite our best efforts the uterus would not contract, continued to bleed and I decided to proceed with hysterectomy. The patient, while physically will recover, emotionally she is distraught. She had miscarried twice and had a baby that lived 3 weeks before dying, now she will never be pregnant again. Even her husband couldn't stop his grief which it has been very rare to see men cry here. Still he went to lab to donate blood for his wife. His blood helped heal her, but now she needs Christ's blood to redeem her. 

Later that night, I was asked to come help with another bleeding patient. This woman had already delivered. By the time I was called her blood loss was close to 3 liters and she had gone into DIC (a disorder where the things that should help the body stop bleeding quit working). Believing she was too sick for surgery, I decided to try a technique I'd read about using foley catheters to tamponade the uterine bleeding. We sent the intern to donate his blood for the patient because we really needed fresh blood and none was available. The lab sent him back saying they didn't have time to prepare fresh blood at night. Thankfully the doctor, who asked me to help him, went to lab to persuade them that all other tests could wait until we took care of this patient. As we waited for his blood we prayed for this patient and slowly the bleeding reduced. I don't know if it was the catheters, medicines, blood, or the Lord that stopped the bleeding. But if you saw the pool of blood I was wading in you would have to agree that her survival was miraculously. Seeing her this morning, still on a ventilator, but alert, I told her she survived out of God's goodness. With tears in her eyes, she grabbed my hand in agreement. 

As Malin wrote I've been sick and yet needed at the hospital. Somehow the strength was given to care for these patients, and a few others. But now I need God's healing touch because there's a lot more work to be done. 

6 comments:

Nikki said...

Hello Sara,

My name is Anika and I will be coming to Kijabe in September to work with you on the OB/GYN ward. I look forward to meeting you and your family and I ask that God heals your body and continues to give you the strength and endurance to continue his work.

God Bless

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