One of the challenges any hospital faces is ensuring that someone is available to care for patients with emergencies at all hours. Hospital Loma de Luz is no different. We serve a “local” community area of about 50,000 people. The emphasis is on “local” because we also care for many “out of area” patients including Juan who I wrote about in our last update. The point is we never know who from where and when is going to come through our doors. We currently have a staff of 4 general practice doctors who also can handle Obstetrical patients, aka pregnant women, 1 general practice doctor who specializes in emergency medicine, 1 pediatrician, 2 general surgeons, 2 physician assistants and 1 Nurse Practitioner. Even if you are not very good at math you at least have some idea that 11 medical providers for 50,000 + potential patients is pretty substantial. At this point you may be thinking like Jethro, Moses’ father in law, who after seeing the great burden of judging for all of the Israelites said, “It is too much work for you to do alone. You cannot do this job by yourself. It wears you out. And it makes the people tired too.” Exodus 18:18
Let me be clear in saying that the only way we can even begin to handle the burden of caring for all our patients, let alone caring for them to the highest standards possible, is by the power, wisdom, knowledge and strength of our God. It is also through support staff, visitors, teamwork and prayer that this heavy load becomes more manageable. Each provider takes 1 night a week and 1 weekend a month of call which starts at 7am and ends at 7am the next morning. This past week I was on call Thursday and from 5 pm to 12 pm I saw a lady with nausea, a lady with abdominal pain from constipation, a girl with pelvic pain which ended up being from a miscarriage, a lady with hip pain after being hit by a motorcycle while walking down the road and finally 2 men, driver and passenger, who needed extensive wound care after crashing their motorcycle while driving way to fast on our bumpy dirt roads (they were not the ones who hit the other patient).
I will admit that after an already long day of caring for patients it was difficult to not want to just throw some bandages on the wounds sustained by a careless motorcycle driver, especially when another full day of seeing patients was rapidly approaching. But it is the love of Christ and the support of our staff who spur us on to not only take the time to properly clean, explore and close all wounds but to also ask them if they know Jesus and if we can pray for God to heal their wounds. Doctor Peter, thankfully, was on call with me to help carry this patient load and ensure we provided the best care possible. Together we worked to give each patient the time and attention they needed. Once Dr. Peter finished suturing up a deep wound that the driver sustained to his knee he asked if we could pray for his wounds. The patient agreed and we gathered around to pray over and for him. Since last Thursday I have seen this patient in wound care clinic and am happy to report not only is his wound healing well but his demeanor has changed from indifferent to grateful.
As promised here is an update on Juan (name changed) who I wrote about with our last update. He was able to leave the hospital last week and returned today for a follow up visit. The skin graft is settling in nicely and granulation tissue is beginning to grow up over his bone which is necessary for complete healing. The tissue needs a little more time to cover the bone before another skin graft is placed. Thankfully Juan remains in good spirits and is happy that many of you are praying for him and he send blessings your way as well. Continue to pray for his miraculous healing and that he would be able to walk normally again.
We have been able to use our car to successfully navigate around the hospital and nearby towns, helping transport other missionaries and visitors.
Its mango and avocado season and we have been able to enjoy eating fresh fruit off the tree.
The patient who had a heart attack (last blog post) stabilized and was able to go home.
Continued safety as we drive on treacherous roads.
That we show and share the love of Christ with everyone we meet.
Energy and wisdom to treat patients in the midst of limited resources.