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Working Together to Save a Child’s Life

A Story from Hospital Loma De Luz in Honduras                                                                             By Dr. Peter Stockton, CHSC missionary physician.

It was a typical call night. Rainy. Muggy. It was 7 o’clock at night and I got called into the hospital right in the middle of putting the girls to bed. I had been on call every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday for a month straight and it was getting old. I rode my motorcycle down the hill thinking, “Great. Some over-concerned mother is bringing her two month old because he is acting strange. How strange can a two month old act? All they know how to do is eat and poop.” I arrived at the hospital and began checking the kid out.

The baby boy was very small for his age, but that was all I could find. His mother said that he had been in a hospital in San Pedro Sula for the last month. She said that he was born there and at first was unable to breathe on his own. They had just discharged him, two days prior from coming to our hospital. I asked her what her concerns were. He had no fever, no GI problems, nothing that I could find that was wrong. She said that he had not eaten well two hours prior for his last feeding. I asked her to feed him and he seemed to feed without difficulty. The mother was very concerned and I thought it would be easier to admit him for the night and do labs in the morning to make sure he was ok than it would be to send them home. I wrote the admission orders and got them tucked in. I drove my motorcycle back up the hill, but less than half an hour later, I was called back to the hospital because the baby had stopped breathing.

Six different doctors were helping me. Dr. Isaac helped me figure out the diagnosis. We came to the conclusion, after talking more with the mother, that the baby was having apnea (periods of no breathing) and bradycardia (slow heart beat) related to prematurity. We breathed for the baby for several hours and he seemed to recover. I had never dealt with this before; I had never even seen this before. In the United States babies who are born this way are not allowed to leave the hospital until they have a week free from apnea and even then, they are sent home on an apnea monitor.
I was never so happy to see Dr. Judy, our pediatrician, as I was that night. She is very familiar with this problem and the treatment. She got to work building a bubble CPAP machine from oxygen tubing and physics. In no time at all, this baby was doing better.

We had multiple set backs, including a collapsed lung lobe and likely pneumonia, but Judy helped me limp this baby back to health.
I was embarrassed that I had no idea what was going on with this baby and that I almost sent him home to his sure death. I was really thankful that God had placed such great people around me and for the timing of this little boy’s respiratory arrest. Dr Judy came and brought him to my room and I didn’t recognize the little guy. He was huge, with a full head of hair and so active I was astounded that this was the same itty bitty boy that was so tiny his brain hadn’t learned to breathe yet. I felt really humbled that God had saved this baby.
I have been humbled multiple times this last month at how powerful God is. He controls time. He controls the timing of everything. His timing is perfect. This precious baby had been born at 27 weeks gestation.  He was discharged from the hospital and lived at home for a day before he came to our hospital and stopped breathing. He was admitted because his mom knew something was wrong. Dr. Isaac is here and helped me make the diagnosis. Dr Judy is here and saved his little life. the hospital is here because Dr Jeff and his family moved here to build it. I am here because you guys have supported me. All of this is Gods timing, his perfect logistics.
He has you where you are in the position you are and with the influence and abilities you have because you are perfect for the role HE wants you to play. He is in control of time which means He can take His entire focus and put it on you since the second you were knit together in the womb. He won’t ever stop and He will never leave you, because He has the time to do it. Live today knowing that the most powerful being ever has made time for you, every second you exist.

Dr. Peter and Katie Stockton are CHSC missionaries serving at Loma De Luz Hospital in Honduras.

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