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Posted by Lisa Ryujin, MD (a fourth year Ob/Gyn resident from Kaiser Permanente Oakland currently serving  a global health elective in Kenya with The Tiba Foundation/The Matibabu Foundation).

I remember that it was in Africa that I started to believe in miracles. The patients came to the hospital so sick, and when you evaluated them, you think in your head, I hope that this woman doesn’t pass away before we have the opportunity to take her to the operating room. After being in the operating room for 3 days, doing gyn cases, the chief of the hospital asked us to evaluate a woman who just came in with an acute abdomen (rigid on exam with gaurding). She said that the pain started a week ago, sudden in onset, and she was taken to local medicine men, who claimed she had been cursed, and then removed ‘glass’ from her abdomen, she had not improved after this treatment, and they brought her to the hospital as a last resort. We were asked to take her back to surgery. We looked at her ultrasound, and were not convinced that the mass in her abdomen was from her ovaries. We decided to take her to the operating room because she looked so sick and there wasn’t another surgeon who was available to take her back. When we opened the abdomen, the whole abdomen was filled with bowel contents. She had a ruptured appendix that her body was trying to wall off. By some miracle, there was a visiting general surgeon who happened to stop by the operating room to help us to run the adherent bowel and fix the ruptured appendix. We opened her from sternum to pelvis, and when she woke up, I expected her to be writhing in pain (for these big open incisions, we would put our patients on a PCA to deliver around the clock narcotics), to my surprise, she just smiled and said that she felt so much better. I could only imagine how much pain she had been in prior to going to the operating room. Every morning when I go to see her in the hospital wards, I am amazed at how well she is recovering. My initial thoughts were, I hope that she makes it through the night, but the scrub techs all reassured me that she would, they had seen much worse, and they were confident that she would pull through. Here we are, almost a week later, and she is eating, sitting up, walking, and doesn’t have any residual effect of the surgery or the ruptured appendix except her scar, a battle wound that reminds her how lucky she was.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I am seriouly touched by the above narrations about just a fraction of our precious country Kenya .Its so touching that I cant control my tears from flowing down the cheeks.They reminds me about the tearful nights I spent from 2006 immediately after my high school just longing to join higher education to study any course in medicine .Although after 4 years i got sponsorship and am now taking a diploma in nutrition and dietetics , i feel this is not my limit but belief one day before I die I MUST BECOME A SURGEON , in this i believe and trust in God the Almighty .In my carrier i have witnesed such incidence like Dr Miler but am quite disturbed since i cant help with the little knowledge i have acquired .I salute all of you from USA and other parts of the world who come to give us a hand .May God bless you abudantly .
    from kioko (

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