Our Pediatric ward is crowded

This week, I was amazed at how crowded the hospital grounds are.  I quickly learned that families stay on the property when their loved ones are hospitalized.  When all beds are filled, which is a common occurrence, some sick and injured patients stay in the yard waiting for a vacancy.  Families huddle together, sleep under a tree or under the shelter of overhangs with few complaints.  Above, is the pediatric ward, which is one large room with multiple beds.  It is not uncommon to see family members share a bed or sleep on the ground next to the hospital bed.  For those who have not been here, imagine 6 hospital beds and 6 families, sharing one large room.

Today, we took care of a 4 year old child who had fallen from a mango tree, had an open distal radius and ulna fracture with the radius coming out of the skin.  There was mud and grass on the visible end of the bone coming through the skin.  We were able to take the patient to the operating room, remove the debris and mud, reduce the fracture and pin it back into place.  Dilute bleach is used as irrigation in the operating room, and almost every patient’s wounds are cleaned with dilute bleach daily while they are in the hospital.  It has proven to be extremely effective.

 

I am grateful to UCLA and OIC to have had the opportunity to come visit and help in Ethiopia, and look forward to another exciting week!

Would you consider a gift to our Benevolence Fund to help our poorest patients?

These notes and photos were provided by:

> Ed Cheung

> UCLA Orthopaedic Surgery


Yehone, "his name means, "Let it be"

Yehone is a newborn baby at Soddo Christian Hospital. “Let It Be” is the meaning of his name, but that is an impossible task for his young mother and grandmother, both of whom anxiously await the outcome of a surgery on which they’ve just been debriefed. Yehone’s family has traveled to Soddo from their local hospital 50 kilometers away. His grandmother explains that Yehone is the first-born child of her daughter, who is young, fatherless, and recently married. The tiny child in her arms is the prize of this family. Twenty days after his birth, Yehone’s family knew that he was fatally ill, with a distended stomach and unrelenting vomiting. They sought diagnoses and treatment at the hospital nearest them, but did not have enough money to pay for the child’s care. They were sent to Soddo Christian Hospital, where a Benevolence Fund will help pay for life-saving treatment they cannot afford. Yehone’s family used everything they had to make it to the hospital in Soddo. Today, Yehone will undergo an operation to heal the root of his illness - an intestinal malrotation.

Dr. Michelle explains to the mother and grandmother the need for this operation, assuring them that God has already protected their child, that his life today is reason to give thanks to God, and that we must continue to entrust the child’s care to God through prayer. Ayellech, a hospital chaplain, is in the room to pray for the baby and family. The women are both timid, they are afraid of the surgery and do not believe their precious one will make it through; “He is so small,” what if he does not wake up? The gnawing, clenching feeling of fear is evident on the women’s faces. Ayellech places her hands on the child and his mother, and prays powerfully for the baby’s life. When the prayer finishes, she does not stand up and walk away. She holds the mother’s shoulder and asks, “Why did you not say ‘Amen?’” Do you not know that God is good? The women look worried, but they know that this is their hope, that they must put their trust in the doctors here to save their child; it is through the faith and evangelism of the staff that they are led instead to put their faith in God. “God is the only physician who can save this baby,” Dr. Yates explains before she prays for the family, “So we must pray.”

“God has given us an opportunity to share the gospel here…to people who come from all corners and all tribes of Ethiopia,” explains Tesfaye, another hospital chaplain, “I cannot share the gospel more anywhere else.”

Soddo Christian Hospital provides more than physical healing, but it is only through the lifesaving care of the doctors that this opportunity arises.

When Yehone’s family arrived at Soddo, they had spent everything they had on transportation to the hospital. They had nothing left to pay for treatment.

The Benevolence Fund is currently very short of funds.  We used $113,000 to fund Benevolence Patients in 2016, wiping out our reserves.

For Yehone and his family, the hospital’s reserve Benevolence Fund (which has been set aside for pregnant mothers) is being re-allocated to cover the surgery and medicine costs for Yehone, in addition to food for his mother and grandmother. Because of this resource, Yehone and his family will remain in the hospital while he undergoes treatment; they will be in the care of the hospital’s doctors, nurses, and chaplains, who will continue to share with them the love of Christ, and the hope of new life given by Jesus.

There is now an immense need to replenish the hospital’s Benevolence Fund, which in the past has been lifesaving to hundreds of patients – thanks to the generosity of donors. This is a major resource to provide opportunities for the staff to serve the poor; it is the means through which Soddo Christian Hospital shares the gospel with those who both need and desire it the most.

With your donation, Soddo Christian Hospital can continue to provide this much-needed care and hope to the neediest in Ethiopia. Will you help?

Yehone’s surgery was successful.  He is now recovering!  Thank you God!

 

You can give online at:

http://www.soddo.org/donate/


Doctor helps at-risk women

Dr. Mark Karnes likens the work he does to a well-known Christian proverb: "Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime."

Both as a Christian and an OB/GYN, he hopes to achieve a lasting impact in Ethiopian health care by treating at-risk women and instructing other medical professionals there.

The 1967 Heath High School graduate grew up "right on the McCracken and Ballard County line," eventually moving to Cameroon for five years as a medical missionary after his internship. Karnes said he again "felt called" to Africa with his wife, Allison, after 25 years of practicing in Michigan.

The couple returned to Paducah in April for a funeral and to visit with family. While in town, he spoke with The Sun about his medical career overseas.

Since 2010 Mark has been on-call "24 hours a day, seven days a week" at the 140-bed Soddo Christian Hospital in the Wolaitta region of southern Ethiopia.

"Christ first healed people, then taught them," Mark said. "Part of our work is (also) training African doctors in the field of surgery, so they'll be able to carry on.

"It's one thing to do a caesarean section myself to save the life of a mother and child, but to teach (another) how to do the same operation is a great thing."

Initially he was one of two OB/GYNs for a population of roughly 2.5 million. Three others have arrived to the region since then.

"When (my wife and I) first went to Ethiopia, 94 percent of women delivered at home without a health care professional," he said. "I'd say that number is probably 60 percent now."

Despite progress, both Mark and Allison said issues remain.

While the Ethiopian government has encouraged more medical schools and training, Mark said many native physicians graduate only to work abroad.

Cases of uterine prolapse and molar pregnancies -- where an undeveloped fetus causes harm to the mother -- also threaten the well-being of his patients.

"We've lost patients simply from lack of blood," he said. "In the states I never lost a patient or a mother from that, but in Ethiopia it's a different world."

Allison credited the Ethiopian government for a "substantial difference," saying the Wolaitta region has expanded to a university of about 15,000 students and a medical school.

"I give them a tremendous amount of credit, because they really want to improve the system there," Allison said. "You're seeing health care in the country (also) really begin to improve."

She's brought her own cause to the region as director of WRAPS -- Washable, Reusable, Affordable Pads -- a nonprofit providing clean sanitary pads and access to education for Ethiopian schoolgirls. Her organization addresses hygiene, menstruation, staying in school and overcoming disadvantages.

"(Mark and I) both have a passion for changing the lives of women in Ethiopia," Allison said. "I see injustices there done to women -- forced marriage, rape -- and it's a horrific system for rural schoolgirls.

"The government is striving hard to change that, but in the rural areas it's still far behind."

Allison added the country's road system in rural areas has improved greatly -- aiding the work they do.

"I used to have (patients) walk three hours to the road, then take a taxi for hours to get to me," Mark said. "I think it's gotten better."

Visit soddo.org to see about potential ways to get involved. Mark and Allison Karnes also host a blog at soddospecialdelivery.org.

S


A gift from a recent visitor, new mural in the Pediatric department

thor simpson psalms smallkja 139

You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

Psalms 139:13 & 14

Thor Simpson, the brother of SCH Missionary Taylor Simpson, recently spent part of his visit painting this beautiful mural and faithfully transcribed Psalms 139 into Amharic.


The God of Ethiopia

This poem was written by a recent visitor to Soddo Christian Hospital. He wanted to remember his visit and this was the method God gave him for remembering his trip.

Where do we find God in Ethiopia,

Do we find Him in the bright, round eyes of a young boy in the hospital huddled close to his father?

Do we find Him in the quiet tears and prayers of a rounds team telling a patient he is going to die?

Do we find him in the tears of a young doctor fighting for a patient's eyesight and begging for God's providence?

Do we find Him in the sweet vespers hymns of a staff worn down by the cares of the day?

Do we find Him in the soft rain watering a thirsty land?

Yes, He is there!!

But He is also in the hearts of missionary men and women who have answered the call of God in their lives and given Him all they have.

And yes He is in the sweet minds and souls of those native Ethiopia's who have heard and heeded his call to salvation.

The God of Ethiopia permeates the heart and soul of the land.

Listen!

Hear His soft voice and footsteps all around you.


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times

Dear Friends and Family,
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities. At Soddo Christian Hospital it is the best of times…we must be doing something right for the hospital is maxed out. But this makes it the worst of times… because the hospital is maxed out! Last month we had 92 women giving birth at our hospital, a new record. On top of the maternity rate rising, our nursing and pediatric staff are overwhelmed with the many sick babies that are born here, as well as those sick infants that are delivered at health centers and by home birth and transferred here for care. These babies born outside our hospital are admitted along with their mother into our maternity department. They require antibiotics and intensive nursing care oftentimes for up to a week or more. These patients require a hospital bed and often times a private room for heat. We do not have a neonatal nursery. Some of our mothers have to be delivered early due to severe high blood pressure or severe hemorrhage. Currently we have two babies, one born 10 weeks early and the other 11. They will require a long hospital stay to survive. By the way, most of these babies that stay here for a long time are underwritten by our maternal benevolent fund. Many of you have been so gracious to contribute to this fund. In the past our mothers went home 6 hours after delivery, but now thanks to the good care they receive from Dr. Ayers, our pediatrician and our family doctor, Dr. Becky McClaren, our healthy babies stay a minimum of 24 hours before discharge. We have 15 postpartum, GYN surgery beds in the maternity ward…compared to 30 in the other wards. This is due to the fact that we have a labor room and a delivery room and two clinics operating in the same building.
With our increase in the numbers, we are simply busting out at the seams. We stuffed another bed into our already crowded three bed labor ward. The govt. has informed us that we need a minimum of six. I couldn’t agree more, but we have no space. We have two delivery tables side by side in our delivery room. One of them is our former Gyn exam table. It is now very common to have patients recovering from their surgeries lined up in beds down the hallway because there simply are no other beds or rooms available. We have a few private rooms but they remain full. Two weeks ago patient’s families were literally fighting in the hallway to be admitted into the only available private room.
On top of the maternity increase, our Gyn patient load is escalating. During our two Gyn clinic days, Monday and Thursday, it is not unusual for me to get home at 8 PM. We then have two full surgery days on Tuesdays and Friday with a make-up day on Wednesday. All this to say….It is the best of times (because we are growing) and the worst of times, (because we are overworked and out of space)! We are working on a creative plan to add more clinic space thus creating more bed space. St.ay tuned for the details! –An update from Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes, October 2015

Two recovering surgical patients in the overcrowded hallway in the OB ward
Patients in Hallway


Meet Sok

Meet Sok. She plays an irreplaceable role at Soddo Christian Hospital, which ultimately translates into excellent medical care for patients presenting to the hospital. Learning about how laboratories run, industrial oxygen concentrators, ordering of supplies for different departments - such as sourcing IV contrast for CT scans, suction catheters and oxygen face masks, etc. She has been the kick-start to many of the educational programs for the doctors including initiating radiology teaching rounds, medical grand rounds, teaching ECGs to the PAACS residents and GPs.  We are even able to access radiology in the comfort of our homes and wards and is particularly helpful when asking for consultations between specialties. An amazing achievement in rural Ethiopia.

**Today we thank Sok for her service!**

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A day in the life of a Soddo Christian Hospital team member

 "A man has been stabbed in the neck. He is going to die."

These words, spoken calmly and as a matter of fact by the ICU head nurse, came as we were doing an early morning ward round prior to our planned weekend getaway to nearby Awassa. Glancing up at Dr. Ryan and Dr. Kyley, our visiting maxillofacial surgeons from the St.ates; our eyes met and without much ado, hurried to the emergency department. Reports of a large wound at the back of his neck with bone visible and a smaller wound in his anterior neck, among other injuries, made us realize that the best place to care for the patient was in the operating suite.

Meanwhile, the entourage surrounding the patient arrived in the OR with his relatives commandeering the stretcher, bringing him to the OR via the shortest route through the back door. Having gone in head first, the stretcher could not be turned around and had to be reversed into the corridor for a 180 degree spin and re-entry made, allowing a hurried transfer onto the operating table. Never mind the ABC’s of airway, breathing, etc in this race to get him to the destination.

"Oxygen, mask, laryngoscope" barks Kyley to the man standing next to him. A blank look in reply, the commands were to no avail as he was the patient's brother, not an OR worker. Amidst the chaotic, frantic activity, equipment arrived after what seemed an eternity. Blood miraculously materialized in record time, (thanks to the medical director's dash to the blood bank) and was quickly administered after a dunk in warm water. An emergency crico-thyroidotomy was necessitated to secure his airway as we were unable to effectively ventilate him with bag and mask. All along, the maxillofacial surgeons orchestrated the airway and resuscitation.

The neck injury was a through and through stab wound, entering from the posterior neck and exiting anteriorly, severing several healthy arteries supplying the posterior neck muscles. Brachial plexus, trachea, esophagus and the great vessels of the neck were spared anteriorly. Other major injuries included two deep lacerations into his left proximal thigh, a through and through laceration of one hand and another into the knuckles of his other hand.  

It all ended well, the patient woke up with smiles.

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“Now I will kick a football,” she laughed as she moved her new knee.

SCHinstaknee

 

This is  sweet Birhana from the Jinka area; which is located near the Kenya border. She has endured 14 years of pain. Birhana came to Soddo Christian Hospital 3 years ago and was told she needed a new knee, but at that time a total joint replacement was not an option here at SCH, and the replacement parts she needed were not available anywhere in Ethiopia.

This week Dr. Clint Barnett from Texas arrived at our hospital and 18 knees were completely replaced. 3 men and 15 women were given the opportunity to have a life without pain, (something so many of us take for granted).  These knees were done using total joint replacements. Birhana  was among those so happy to be called this week to come and receive a new knee!! She could barely contain her joy, as she smiled and laughed.  “Now I will kick a football,” she laughed as she moved her new knee. “I love you and Soddo Christian Hospital.”

Birhana shared at Soddo Christian Hospital chapel, her joy and thankfulness shining so bright. Dr. Clint Barnett shared, "These are just replacement parts, made  by man, and of metal, not made of bone. They give the opportunity at a better life, one without pain and with more physical capabilities. However God longs to have our hearts, to heal our hearts, and more important than having a new knee, is knowing that you have eternal life." God is doing beautiful things here at SCH, both through physical healing and through spiritual salvation. All the glory is His, He is mighty to heal, mighty to save!!

Fun fact: The average size of a replacement knee for women  in the US is #5  but our Ethiopian friends were smalls. Dr. Barnett did five #1's in one week!   In fact, we had to send for more small sizes from the US and our recent visitors brought them while Dr. Barnett was here. 

 

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God is using a CT scanner to reach five million Ethiopians with the Gospel

IMG_6513

 

In 2013, an anonymous donor gave nearly $1 million in equipment to Soddo Christian Hospital. While the donation contained dozens of important items, the gem of the collection was a brand new computed tomography (CT) scanner. By itself, this one piece of equipment is helping us spread the Gospel to the five million people in our region of Ethiopia.

Here’s how.

CT technology produces tomographic images (literally layered slices) of the inside of a patient’s body. Think of a standard x-ray machine, such as the kind you might have experienced if you broke your arm as a child. That type of machine can produce only one snap shot of a patient. But a CT scanner can produce a picture of each layer of the patient, giving us a vastly greater amount of information, which in turn helps us make much more accurate diagnoses, and guide more effective treatments for patients. It’s not hard to see why a CT scanner has become an important tool for any hospital to have.

And, currently, we have the only CT scanner for our region of five million people.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means that patients from all across our region, many of whom lives hundreds of kilometers away, come here to Soddo Christian Hospital for their treatment because they require a CT scanner. And each one of these patients receives the Gospel message from our staff. In fact, orthopedic patients (those needing treatment on their bones) are the most frequently in need of CT imaging, and these patients tend to have long hospital stays (often lasting weeks) as they recover from surgery, which means we can share the Gospel with them over and over again, and disciple those who receive Christ!
IMG_6511

bilde 1
Recently, two of our physicians - orthopedic surgeon Duane Anderson and radiologist Karl Roth - performed an extremely advanced procedure using the CT scanner. Called a CT-guided biopsy, this procedure is only performed in a handful of hospitals in the US. In February, a patient named Dagmwi came to us with a suspicious bone tumor in his pelvis. Guided by images that Dr. Roth produced on the CT scanner, Dr. Anderson was able to accurately insert a needle into the tumor and extract a sample for analysis. The root issue turned out to be an infection, and Dagmwi was placed on antibiotics. Without the CT-guided biopsy, Dagmwi would have had to undergo a complicated surgery in order to diagnose the problem.

This story is just one example of the power of the CT scanner that God has blessed us with. He’s using this tool to draw patients like Dagmwi to our hospital for treatment. We’re able to provide high-quality care, and we’re also able to share the love of Jesus Christ. It’s a winning combination that is seeing Ethiopians brought to Christ every week. We praise God for this gift, and we look forward to using it for His glory for years to come.

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