Friday, August 5, 2011

August update

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. (1Peter 1:3-4)

Dear friends

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support which sustain us. This week has been a little tiring and it is at times like this that it makes such a big difference to us to know that people around the world care for us, pray for us and support us in other ways.

Monday’s ward round was a real pleasure as Dr Addy and I went from patient to patient trying to make the best decisions for each and taking opportunities to teach CHW students and staff about various things. Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we also have a scheduled time on the HF radio (hence a ‘sked’) to talk with any outstations who would like advice from a doctor. Over about an hour we speak with health workers in aid posts and health centres all over Western Province and beyond. The afternoon looked like it would be fairly relaxing.

Rumginae fairly recently became connected with mobile phone coverage. During the ward round, Dr Addy received a call from nearby Kiunga hospital. The communication was about a lady with a bleeding ectopic pregnancy who needed surgery. We agreed to do the surgery at Rumginae and the patient was sent up to us. While the patient was still being driven the 40 minutes up the ‘highway’, another phone call came through. The physician relieving at Kiunga had just been presented with another patient with a bleeding ectopic. This patient, however, was in much worse condition due to the loss of a large amount of blood. He managed to resuscitate the patient and accompany her up to Rumginae as well as assist us with the anaesthetic.

It wasn’t until about 1am that we finally headed home after such a quiet day! The surgery was very difficult for the second lady sent to us. We managed to auto-transfuse 2 units of her own recently lost blood, and she needed another 3 units of blood plus a large amount of other fluids. The surgery was technically very difficult. Today she is still very weak and in some pain but is recovering, praise God.

The first patient sent to us, who was less sick, had her operation second. The anaesthetic and surgery went extremely well and the operation was over and done with very quickly. We sent her home on Wednesday!

We have also been caring for many sick children with respiratory difficulty – bronchiolitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis. This has necessitated leaving the generator on over night, which has put us in a tight situation with our diesel use. We will have to be careful over the next few months. There are other patients with heart valve disease, hepatoma (liver cancer), 2 patients with recent leg amputations for trauma or cancer, patients who have had big peptic ulcer bleeds, snake bites and more.

On Wednesday, it was again time to be stirred to more action. I was called to the radio at around 7am to speak with Obo health centre. The midwife at Obo was asking advice about a lady who came in without any previous antenatal care, who was having very slow progress with her delivery of twins. It was her 6th time to be pregnant which adds many more risks (eg bleeding). Thankfully, pilot Matt was expecting to be flying over Obo later in the morning on his way back from the South of the province. Meanwhile, I received a phone call from Kiunga hospital wanting to bring up a patient for appendicectomy. Of course, that would be fine with me. Around the time of the midday ‘sked’ I learnt that Matt had landed at Obo, but the first twin had finally delivered. The second twin soon followed. His passengers must have been very thankful that they weren’t left at Obo for Matt to bring a patient to us…. however, there was a patient that did need to come in … from Dahamo, many miles to the north.

Kiunga brought their patient, lots of theatre equipment, 2 theatre staff, the surgeon working with the Ok Tedi mine and another 2 doctors working in Kiunga. What they needed that they did not have is an anaesthetist (which is the role I played that day). Dr Charlie (the surgeon) skilfully removed the very severely infected appendix. Towards the end of the operation, the plane landed. Finding that the patient just arrived from Dahamo also had appendicitis, we all repeated the procedure and removed another appendix. It was very helpful to have a surgeon available.

Please do remember these post operative patients in your prayers, and the many other very ill patients we are caring for.

In early July, we had a visit from the Japanese ambassador to PNG to open a new CHW school classroom. This now gives better capacity to cater for the increase in student numbers. The school can take up to 30 students per class (60 students in total for a 2 year course).

Dr Sharon has travelled to New Zealand for 6 months of home assignment. Please pray that she would be refreshed and enjoy this time with her family and NZ friends.

Please pray for a return to full health for quite a number of our staff who are ill, some in hospital, with various things. Pray for some of the organisational things happening at the hospital including trying to get adequate medical supplies, trying to organise for new houses to be built (the materials are here, now we just need to get them up), for upcoming visits from a small work party, from our volunteer project manager and other visitors.

This year marks 60 years since MAF began flying, starting off in PNG. To mark this anniversary, musician Steve Grace will be travelling around with MAF holding performances in various places – including Rumginae!

Praise God for some wonderful answers to prayer on the ward. Es…   was very unwell as a result of kidney failure after a snake bite. I wasn’t sure that she would live very long at all when she arrived at hospital, but she recovered well and went home happy.


Talking of snakes, we have had quite a few snake experiences lately. Just near our house, some people found a large python which they killed. We managed to get some photos before they took in home to eat.

A lovely family outing recently was to Senamrae to visit our friends CHW Danwaf and his family. We enjoyed seeing where they live, drinking water from a green coconut, walking to the river and playing with their children.

For a few days last week we had our friend Jo visit. It was wonderful to have some extra help in the school room.

Please pray for the youth retreat being held this weekend and for Daniel who is preaching on Sunday.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

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