Thursday, September 24, 2009

3rd World Medical

Working within the government medical system in a third world country is quite challenging, I must say. The chemotherapy program still isn’t up and running. For a while I kind of lost hope that it would be. We recently had a meeting with a private oncologist in Jo’burg, thanks to my friend who works with a pharmaceutical company in South Africa. This meeting was very encouraging. This doctor has worked in the government system before and is well aware of budget constraints and other limitations that we are facing. He is willing to assist us with fund raising, and training our nurses in mixing and administering chemotherapy. We are now working on getting approval from the Ministry of Health here in Swaziland to partner with this oncologist for the chemotherapy and breast cancer program.
Last week at the breast cancer clinic at the government hospital, we saw a lady that literally crawled into the clinic, because she was too weak to walk any further. This lady has advanced breast cancer. The cancer has actually caused the breast to turn inside out and is now growing into the chest wall. She had been admitted to the hospital just the week before and had fluid drained off of her lungs and sent to the lab. The report came back that it was metastatic breast cancer. She was now at the point that she had so much fluid on her lungs that she could hardly breathe. We sent her to x-ray via wheelchair with her family to have another chest x-ray done. We received word that she had collapsed in x-ray and was brought back up to the outpatient department. The doctor and I went over to check on her and we found her lying on a exam table with an oxygen mask blowing 02 in her face. No one had noticed that she was already dead. No respirations, and no pulse. We took the oxygen off. Her daughter was sitting in a chair in the next room and she asked me if she would be OK? I had to tell her that we had lost her. The young girl (probably early 20’s) dropped her phone and everything in her lap and screamed and cried! I took her in to see her mother. She just kept saying “Make, Make” (which means mother in SiSwati). She asked, “How could God let this happen?”I was able to talk with her and comfort her and pray with her. I helped her call her family members on my phone. She had no airtime on her phone. Her brother and her uncle came, and I was also able to talk with them. Later that afternoon I received a call from the uncle thanking me for being with them and helping them. Praise the Lord for the opportunity to minister to the broken hearted!
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