Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Praying for good news

Everyday numerous patients come to Kudjip to be treated.  Some live in our area and so when they are sick, they come to us; others live outside of our catchment area, but near enough that they are able to pay the fee to be seen, even though they could get seen elsewhere for less money, many saying they come here because they trust us and believe in us; others come from far away and have tried to get treatment at their hospital, but they are no better and they heard about the help we give to others and so they too want to see if we can help them.  Most everyone comes because they want to, but occasionally, we get referrals from other doctors asking for help.  Anna was one of those patients. 

Anna is 12, she had been having a lot of bleeding and was found to be very anemic.  She received multiple transfusions, but she still was bleeding and wasn’t getting better, so the other hospital sent her to us.  I was on call the night she came in and found a referral asking us to do a bone marrow biopsy to r/o cancer. 

When I saw her, she could hardly talk, she was very short of breath.  I took things one step at a time and treated her immediate problem, which was heart failure due to the amount of fluid and blood she had gotten, which had overloaded her heart.  After giving her a diuretic, she peed off the extra fluid making it easier for her to breathe.

Her blood tests did suggest that she could have leukemia, so I looked at her blood smear to see if she did cells suggestive of leukemia.  Family practice docs aren't routinely trained in oncology, but you do what needs to be done on a mission field.  Ever since my first overseas trip to Africa, God has given me a heart for the cancer patients and I have learned quite a bit through the years. 

Thankfully, her blood didn’t look as bad as I had expected, so we are cautiously optimistic that she doesn’t have leukemia.  Her mom was really concerned about her condition and wanted to know what was going on, as do I.  She is also so cute, she never said much, but smiled all the time.  I don't want her to have leukemia, so I did a bone marrow biopsy to try and determine for sure what is making her sick.  The results will take a few weeks to get back, so we are praying they will be good, pray with us.