Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Great Physician

Jesus is truly the great physician!

This is true wherever you are in the world, but often it’s easier to remember this when you lack the technological or financial means that tempt us to rely on our own credit and resources.  I have nothing at all against the vast array of medical “helps” that are available to the average citizen of the developed world as I see that lives are extended and enhanced because of them.  They’re just not options for the overwhelming majority of the world’s people.

Kijabe Hospital is a rural hospital an hour from Nairobi and because of donations and the efforts of many people who work here, we are fortunate to have access to a relatively greater array of resources when compared to the average provincial hospital.  That being said, we still are a far cry from any typical small community hospital in a developed country.  We try to do more with less and prayer is essential to every aspect of the care we give. 

To that end, we are now rejoicing and praising our Great Physician for a very special healing.  Baby Hannah came to Kijabe Hospital with a hole in her abdominal wall that leaves her intestines hanging outside the body.  This is a relatively rare condition called “gastroschisis” that can be difficult to treat, especially in a resource-limited setting like ours.  If you read the pediatric surgery textbooks (written by surgeons practicing in developed countries), you’ll learn that the survival for children with gastroschisis is around 95%.  Ours has been 0%.  There is a case report in the African literature of one survivor at a teaching hospital here in Kenya.  I’ve also informally polled surgeons who have practiced for years in Kenya and they can remember maybe 1, at most 2, survivors each.  Some people have even questioned whether it is ethical to keep trying to save these children given the high costs and uniformally dismal outcomes.  We haven’t given up yet, thank goodness. Hannah was actually born at Kijabe Hospital and was able to get care immediately. (Other babies have come to us a few days old with their bowel still on the outside).  We were able to repair her abdomen, feed her through her IV and ultimately feed her by mouth.  She also survived a serious bloodstream infection and went home 6 weeks later - just earlier this week!

We have another baby (Naomi) with the same problem whose abdomen is fixed and is now feeding in the nursery! We are so grateful for these children’s lives and for the work of the nurses, doctors, and mothers as we try to provide healthcare to God’s glory.  He is good!

Mama with Baby Hannah


  1. I'm going to have a smile on my face for a while about Hannah. Glad to have you here, Erik. Mardi

  2. Praise the Great Physician! Hi, my name is Joy and I was wondering, are you guys the couple from BH?