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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Things That Frustrate Me

* WARNING: Some of the pictures in this post are very graphic. If you don't think you can handle it, scroll quickly through.

I've seen some great things in Kenya, but I've also seen some really terrible things. Working in a mission hospital has shown me just how desperate the people of Africa are for good health care. The problem is that good health care isn't free. CURE International is a wonderful organization that provides free surgeries for children with disabilities with the help of generous donors. Unfortunately we can't give all of our treatments for free.

This is James.

He fell from a tree in February and was sent to a local hospital for treatment. He was admitted, but he sat in the hospital for over a month without seeing a doctor because his family couldn't afford the fees. He finally left the hospital and was forced to lay in bed at home without anyone attending to him. He came to CURE in search of a wheelchair because he had lost all feeling and function of his legs. When Charmi and I first saw him, his father explained that he had sores, so as is protocol for distributing a wheelchair, we had to take a look. I was definitely not prepared for the severity of his sores. You can literally see the femoral head and his gluts. I have never seen anything so terrible in my life.

James has no sensation in his legs due to his injury and lack of treatment, so when he lays in bed 24/7 without being moved, this is the result. As you can see, his condition is critical, and it's been much much worse than it would be if he had seen help initially. He may actually have function of his legs if he would have been able to afford treatment from the hospital he went to first, and in turn he wouldn't have the pressure sores. Because CURE Kenya specializes in orthopedics, we don't have the doctors to treat James. He needed to see a plastic surgeon immediately so that the wounds wouldn't become infected, but that means that all we can do is refer them to Kijabe Hospital. James and his family couldn't afford to go to Kijabe Hospital, so they ended up just going home. This is just one of the sad stories that are a reality everyday in Africa. The health care is here, but for some it is impossible to acquire. James will probably not survive infection if the wounds get to that point. It's frustrating because I want to do something, but sometimes you just can't.

Jeremiah has a similar story.

He broke his wrist about 3 weeks ago and soon after went to a traditional doctor near his village. They splinted it, but they ended up creating a tourniquet type of device that cut off all circulation to his hand. As a result, the skin covering his hand died and pealed away leaving just muscle and bone. His finger tips were gangrene, but the good news is that his bone has healed!

The wonderful doctors here at CURE were able to do a minor skin graft to prevent infection, but they still don't know how much function he will have in his hand.

Click here

So you may be feeling some of my frustration. I want the best for these patients and so does the staff. Elvis worked so hard to find a solution for James, but there just wasn't anything we could do. I just can't stand the fact that he just went home in the same condition that we saw him. Right now, I feel like all I can do is pray and hope that God can provide a way for these people with little money to be healed. Please join me in praying for these people and the Kenyan health care system! 

On a lighter note... Mirriam had Charmi and I over to her house for dinner on Tuesday. She taught us how to make chapatti! 

Mirriam is seriously the best! And I am definitely making chapatti at home. 


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