When I was working in the hospital as a medical student, some of the craziest things would come in on the nights that I was there. It was always very busy on those nights. Later, when I was a resident, it seemed to be even worse. I would always have very busy call nights and rarely get to sleep at all. Tim and I would compare how our nights went, and they were always starkly different. He would be what we termed a ‘white cloud’ with less business, and I would be a ‘black cloud’. I remember pondering this one time during residency, and I decided that God knew that I learned things best by active learning. As I reflect on the mornings that I have worked this last month at BMC, things don’t seem to have changed too much for me.
I went to the hospital to help out this morning. At first, I thought that I was going to get to watch Tim and Charlie do a C-section and possibly help out with the baby. Well, it was postponed due to another surgery that had already started. So, I went with Tim and another volunteer, Tony, down to isolation to round. There were only two patients to see, so Tim saw one and Tony saw the other. As I stood watching Tim change the dressing on this man’s skin graft on his arm and remove the staples that held the graft on, I wondered why God had brought me there this morning. All I was doing was tagging along like a small child, looking over Tim’s shoulder. I didn’t want to get in the way, nor take any experiences away from the volunteers that were here. There was nothing for me to do.
I tried to be helpful, so I went to see what needed to be done to prepare for the C-section. They were bringing the patient to the theater (OR) and they were ready for Tim and Charlie. I was discussing a patient with Heidi, our surgeon, when a man came toward theater holding a small lifeless girl in a light blue school uniform with blood on her face. We found the one open procedure room and the man placed the girl on the bed. Heidi rushed to her side to see what was wrong. Then, another man came carrying another small girl in a light blue school uniform with blood on her face. There were no empty rooms to put her in, so we placed her on the gurney in the hall way and wheeled her beside the other girl. What had happened, a car accident?
One of the men who brought the girl down said that a wall had collapsed at their school. Were these two girls the only girls that were hurt and brought to BMC? Our question was answered as a few more girls were brought down to the theater. After a quick assessment, we determined that the two that were brought down first were the ones needing our attention the most. Heidi began with the first girl. No one knew her name. She was a small girl around 8 years old, unconscious with blood around her mouth and nose. Her lungs sounded like fluid in the airways and her oxygen saturations were dropping. Heidi kept examining the patient trying to determine if the patient needed a hole in her skull to release pressure from bleeding around the brain, as she and Oleta (a surgical nurse volunteer) cleaned her face.
As Heidi addressed the first patient, I began assessing the second patient. She was also a small girl around 8 years old, lying on the gurney fearful and in pain. She had difficulty speaking, but she was alert, knew who she was, and knew what had happened. She had a deep laceration across the base of her nose that penetrated through her lip to the roots of her upper teeth. She had another smaller laceration that went from the corner of her nose down towards her swollen, bloody red lips in a ‘Z’ like fashion. Her front 8 teeth were missing leaving behind bloody gums. We determined that she possibly had a facial fracture, but she was stable. She would need her wounds to be washed out and repaired, but she would be ok.
Meanwhile, a man appeared at the door of the procedure room looking for his daughter. When he entered the room, he recognized the unconscious girl as his daughter, Memunatu, and his face froze for a few moments in shock. We escorted him back out into the hall way, assuring him that we would take care of her as best we could. As her breathing worsened, we asked the anesthetist about giving her oxygen or intubating. We moved her to the small OR room to give her oxygen and to monitor her better. Although she laid still on the OR table, we prayed that God would spare her life. As we watched and continued to examine the little girl, she slowly began to show signs of improvement; her oxygen levels were higher on the oxygen, her lungs sounded better, her pupils began to respond more normally, she began spontaneously moving her arms and legs. Heidi decided against drilling a hole in her skull since she was improving, but she was still unconscious and needed monitoring. A little while later, Heidi noticed that there was some clear fluid also draining for her nose, revealing that she did have a fracture of her skull. After being monitored for several hours, Memunatu remained stable. She was moved to a bed in the wards, where she has been improving slowly. Yesterday evening, she finally woke up enough to tell Heidi that she wanted to lay down. Although she is still in the hospital and is not back to her normal self, she appears to be doing well with exception to now having fevers. We are grateful that God spared the lives of all the girls in that classroom. Please pray for Memunatu as she is recovering. Pray that she and her family will also come to know Jesus. Please pray for the other girls and their families as they heal.
Unfortunately, my phone isn't connecting to the computer, which means I can't attach any pictures. Sorry!