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Hand for a Hand

Hand for a Hand

Imagine living life without the use of one arm. It would be hard, right? Now, imagine living life without both arms. That sounds next to impossible. How does one eat, drink, or use the bathroom? Get dressed or make something to eat? This is a story of a man who tragically lost both of his arms, and how God blessed him with a new one.

Emelio (name changed) arrived at our hospital with just two bloody stumps after being attacked with a machete. The history varies a bit depending on who tells it, but the gist is that he was caught doing something he should not have been doing and in retribution, someone cut off his arms (at about mid-forearm). Our surgeon immediately went to work cleaning, suturing, and bandaging the wounds in the operating room. Eventually, the wounds healed but obviously, there remained the issues of not only living without hands but also the mental and emotional toll of being attacked.

A few months out from surgery with both wounds completely healed.

As soon as the patient came in last June, I (Andrew) was immediately contacted by our surgeon wanting to put the patient on the prosthetics list in hopes that he could have some kind of restored function. At that time we did not have any supplies or equipment to make a hand prosthesis for Emelio but were praying for some options. In the meantime, Emelio was living with help from his family for almost all activities of daily living.

Low and behold a few weeks ago I was contacted by a partnering clinic asking if we could use some ready-made prosthetic hands. We immediately called up Emelio and had him return to the hospital to see if they could work for him. Last week we were able to apply one of the prosthetic hands and have him practice using it at the hospital. He was a very quick learner and within a matter of minutes he was drinking from a cup and picking up objects with a fork. Praise God for the provision of restored function but that is not even the best part of the story!

Through conversations with our staff, including our on-site pastors, and the experience of the care he received, this patient committed his life to Christ. We found out about his decision on the first follow-up visit to check his wounds when he seemed to be filled with joy and gratitude instead of the natural reaction of sorrow and anger at what he had physically lost.

After receiving the prosthetic hand the patient said that he was thankful that God had put our hospital in his path and provided not only renewed function but a renewed life. He has been continuing to read the bible our pastoral staff gave him and has started to attend a local church in his area. Praise God with me for this changed life and continue to pray that his faith and relationship with God would continue to grow and strengthen as he uses his new life and new hand for good.

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