My Grown Up Christmas List

(3rd Annual)

Well friends, here it is…My 3rd annual Grown Up Christmas List!  When I began this wish list three years ago, our second Christmas in Kenya, I was struggling to come to terms with the reality of deep needs all around me in my new life…needs that overnight had gone from being statistics and maps, to patients and neighbors and friends.  I desperately desired to give meaningful ways for my circle in the US to engage with our needs here in Kenya.  You have stepped up in amazing ways to help meet to our ministry needs, and we have been so blessed to be the conduit of your blessings to our community!

Last year, through your generous year-end gifts we were able to help purchase a much-needed ultrasound machine for the Surgery Department!  It has been put to great use for improved pre-operative evaluation, post-operative patient care, ultrasound-guided procedures, and resident education.  There were also gifts given toward our local orphan ministry, help in spreading the word about our need for a teacher, and ultimately gifts toward supporting Grace (our teacher) as well.

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Heath using the new ultrasound machine to evaluate a post-operative cardiac patient.

This year, our wish is to raise enough funds to buy IV pumps for our Intensive Care Units and Maternity (L&D).  This may not sound like a very “exciting” need, but caring for patients who require certain critical medications without an IV pump is incredibly difficult!  It means that we must count and time the drips carefully and readjust the tubing manually to get the drip-count just right for the accurate dose.  Not only is this tedious and difficult, but it is risky for patients as they can easily be given too much or too little medication.

To further express the impact that this has on patient care, Heath will share about one of his recent patients…

My first few calls after we returned to Tenwek were busy ones.  Between civil unrest due to elections and a nation-wide nursing strike we were slammed with surgical emergencies.  Late one afternoon, a woman came to casualty complaining of abdominal pain after spending several days at another hospital.  It was clear that she had some sort of catastrophic problem in her abdomen which would require surgery.  Her blood pressure was low which required the administration of many liters of IV fluid to correct, and after we had done so, we took her to surgery.  While there we found that she had a gangrenous segment of intestine which had perforated- clearly this was a problem that had gone on for days.  During the procedure her blood pressure continued to drop forcing us to start her on medication to raise her blood pressure, and we performed an abbreviated operation so that we could get her out of the OR and to the ICU.  After transporting her to the ICU, she continued to need a couple of medications similar to adrenaline (we refer to these drugs as vasopressors) to maintain her blood pressure.  These medications must be carefully titrated in relatively small amounts to prevent complications.  In the U.S., we use electronic IV pumps to control the rate of delivery of these medicines.  At Tenwek, we have a very limited number of IV pumps and there were none available this night.  So, we mixed up the medicines in large bottles of saline and began the tedious task of counting the number of drips of fluid over a minute so that we could determine the dose of medicine she received and then make adjustments to the rate accordingly.  We spent a couple of hours at her bedside watching her blood pressure and counting and adjusting drips.  Despite our efforts, our patient died a few hours later- her infection was simply too advanced, and she received treatment too late.  However, our experience that night brought to light one of the biggest issues we (and especially our nurses) wrestle with in our intensive care units- lack of IV pumps.   It is clear that we will have a hard time improving the quality of care of our most critically ill and injured patients without suitable IV pumps.

……..

One IV pump costs $1500.  We would like to purchase 25 pumps for use in our ICU and Maternity areas at Tenwek Hospital.  Can your family, business, or church group come together and purchase an IV pump?  It would make a life-changing Christmas gift for a patient in need!

To give toward this project, click HERE.  This goes directly into our ministry account.  All gifts that we receive in December will go toward the IV pump project.  Feel free to contact us if you have additional questions.  We will update you after Christmas with the outcome!

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Our current IV set-up. Count… the… drip… drip… drip…

As the song lyrics say, “But Heaven only knows, That packages and bows, Can never heal a heartached human soul.”  We know that our material gifts will always fall short of meeting the deepest need of the soul.  We pray that as we attend the physical needs of the patients under our care to the best of our ability, with kindness and compassion, that we can show the love of Christ, pointing to the giver of all gifts and the healer of our souls.

We hope that your Christmas season is filled with reminders of God’s love and His gift of a savior in Jesus. Thank you for helping us share that gift in Kenya.

One Comment on “My Grown Up Christmas List

  1. Pingback: My Grown-up Christmas List

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