This is my friend Kennedy with his wife and baby. Kennedy works on our bikes, and he especially helped Annie get her unicycle put together. But I usually see him at work where his energy and smile are an encouragement as he runs around the hospital trying to sort out the different things he manages. About 6 months ago I had the privilege of delivering his baby boy. I remember the case well. His wife was past her due date, and so we were inducing labor. However, for some strange reason every time we checked their babies heart rate, the tones were not normal. She was not even feeling her contractions, but with every unfelt contraction we saw on the monitor, the baby’s heart rate would go down, and in between contractions the heart rate would be too high. These are signs of stress to the baby. I do not like to do a cesarean section on a woman who is not in labor, but in this case we decided to go for it. The surgery went well, and their baby was fine. But the next morning I heard from the pediatric team that the baby had been found to have an imperforate anus. That means there was no way for the baby to have a bowel movement. Obviously, this is a problem The next day they sent their new son into the operating room to get an ostomy which is where the surgeon attaches the end of the intestines to the abdominal wall so that the bowel movement can pass from the body through the abdominal wall. Then they did surgery to correct the closed anus. The last step was yesterday where they reattached the intestines together so that their son can start passing stool normally. It has been a long road, but everything is ending well. Kennedy really wanted a picture of us all together, and I was glad to snap one too. He is obviously happy that his son is doing well, and although I had just the smallest role in it, I am happy too.
Will continues to be busy in the hospital. For the last 6 months he has been serving primarily on the obstetrics service with occasional shifts in the emergency department. Working in obstetrics means lots of nights on call with runs to the hospital for whatever emergency has recently arrived. It can be tiring, so pray that he will have the energy he needs for each day. A bigger part of Will’s job is Christian medical education. The hospital is full of young doctors, clinical officers, and nurses who come to Kijabe Mission Hospital for medical training. Each day Will is involved in teaching these young doctors through mentoring and training in the wards as well as in didactic medical lectures. The hope is that these doctors will go throughout Kenya and East Africa, practicing excellent medicine as well as sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am still working in obstetrics. I did not expect it to be such a big part of my job when I moved to Kijabe. I have a love-hate relationship with delivering babies. When it is going well, it is fun and joyful. When it goes bad, it is probably the worst thing in medicine. And then there are times when things threaten to go bad, but because we are there as physicians and healthcare workers things go well. Of course, that is very satisfying. Probably the best part is holding babies after they are delivered. I should take advantage of the opportunity more often. I pray all the time when things get a little scary in the hospital. I trust God to help me make timely and wise decisions. And then I use the knowledge and experience that he has given me to do the very best I can. God is good, and I have learned a lot.
From the Kijabe Hospital Facebook page . . .
Meet Robert Cheruiyot our Assistant Manager Nursery- Newborn Unit. Popularly referred to as ‘Bishop’ though not ordained for praying and teaching the Word to his patients and colleagues when he can. He is trained and licenced expert nurse having a Certificate in Nursing and later a Diploma in Nursing from our Kijabe College of Health Sciences. He has immense love for children because he believes they’re the future of our nation particularly investing in them through quality healthcare and education will lead to a successful future.
From our friend Samantha’s blog on life her in Kijabe come these good words.
I don’t pretend to know why one child dies and another one doesn’t. I don’t have any great answers for that giant theological dilemma. But I do know that Paul carried on. He survived great peril, and horrible conditions, and despicable things done to him. Yet he carried on, full of joy and praising God for his trials. So I’m carrying on. And in the midst of carrying on, I am finding that I’m beginning to love this place and love these people and this culture. As crazy as these first 6 months have been, it’s starting to feel like home here…
She wrote a long post about her first six months working at Kijabe. Samantha and I share a job, splitting between maternity and the out patient department, so her experiences are much like my own. If you want a glimpse into the life of a doctor in their first year of service in Kijabe, you can read about it at Sam Goes to Kenya – The First Six Months.
I came up with this solution for a broken bed at about 4 AM while we were getting ready to do a cesarean section for a patient with placenta previa who was having a hemorrhage. Patients with placenta previa have the placenta down low in the uterus so that it is covering the cervix. That means that the placenta is between the baby and the exit. When the cervix begins to open and the baby wants to come out, the placenta begins to bleed so that both the mother and the baby are at risk of death. It is a medical emergency in obstetrics. This case was complicated by the fact that she was only 33 weeks pregnant when she started to hemorrhage (2 months early), and she had a history of three previous cesarean sections. Even in the absence of the emergency, doing a cesarean section on a patient who has 3 previous lower uterine scars makes me nervous. These patients often have lots of scarring which can make the surgery very difficult. In addition, in the case of placenta previa, the placenta is often stuck to and growing into the previous scars which can lead to different type of surgical emergency in which the patient ends up with a hysterectomy. I pray a lot when I am standing next to patients like this. We have scriptures up on the walls in lot of the operating rooms. This room in particular has a scripture hanging right in front of me when I am standing by the patient’s side getting ready to begin. I will look up at it, and I will pray for my patient and for myself. And when all is over, I will look up at it again and thank God that his promises are true. She did great!