Day 4

PictureThe ACT project has a young Ethiopian named Samuel who, with one assistant, goes from door to door in a very poor district screening people for TB. They have recently enrolled 25 people from this endeavor (praise the Lord!) Samuel (Sammy) was asked by the project to invite people who needed medical care from this neighborhood. We were amazed at the 95 patients we saw because they were the most acutely ill people we had seen so far in our clinics—three patients were carried into the clinic by family.

One patient was Ephraem. He was a normal healthy 25-year-old until one week ago. Someone came running to his mother saying he had fallen in the street. Family rescued him and even took him to the hospital. The family had no money for care and Ephraem did not possess a free medical card, so they took him home. He did not get better. Upon arrival to our clinic he was paralyzed on the left side, was dehydrated, had pneumonia, and was neurologically impaired. It is very unusual for us in our community clinics to start IV fluids, but we have it on hand. This was the rare occasion for it and we started an IV and gave fluids and an antibiotic while we brainstormed on what to do. Ephraem was in atrial fibrillation and we thought he had formed a blood clot, which caused a stroke.

PictureThe ACT team jumped into action and called a not-too-far-away imaging center. The imaging center has their own little ambulance and they came to get Ephraem for his CT scan of the head. They again returned him and we awaited the results. While he was gone, the ACT team (thank you, Teddy) sent the mother to her district to get a paper from the officials for free medical care for Ephraem. We learned also, that if the patient has an abnormal CT it kind of forces the hospital to admit him.

PictureThe CT results came near the end of the day: a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma (brain bleed). Someone had beaten Ephraem. He had no memory of it and none of his family or friends were around as witnesses. Since getting the IV fluids he was a little more oriented, but it was still difficult to explain to this young man and his three friends his diagnosis and that he needed neurosurgery. His case was sad and emotional for all of us. We pray that he recovers and receives the care he needs.

PictureA few other patients of the day were Meron, a 4 year-old deaf child with tics, Habtamu with brain and spinal TB, and many patients with goiters, eye problems and ear infections.

For Joyce, a highlight of the day was seeing Lelah. On last year’s mission trip Joyce visited Lelah’s home and visited her father and her. Her father died this past year. Joyce and another team member from last year brought many photos they took in 2010. It is common in Ethiopia to never have a photo of yourself or your family and we thought it would mean a lot to the beneficiaries of the ACT project. So imagine the joy for Lelah to receive a photograph of her with her deceased father. Tears welled in her eyes.