Monday, November 10, 2014


This is the stuff that you think about when you think of missionary doctors…

But in reality it doesn’t happen all that often. But it did happen today.

It was a normal Sunday. I did rounds on maternity. I have about 12 patients, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. My preeclamptic patient is still pretty sick with BP’s at 170’s/120’s while on atenolol pills. I gave her a touch of lasix today.

I have a premature baby that is 1.8 kg that is doing well and 2 weeks old. She didn’t want to go home yet though because she’s afraid her family will give her baby water. I said she could stay at the hospital as long as she wants. We are giving her free rice so she’ll have something to eat.

My postpartum intestinal perforation is looking better. She is now 12 days postop. Today I brought her to the OR to open her incision that was leaking some pus, not surprisingly. The pus was coming from her abdominal cavity, so thankfully there was an opening through the fascia to let it drain. I extended it. She’ll get better, but it will be a long time packing her incision. Just glad to get the pus out again, now she can get better. Glad to not see stool either! Her intestines were pretty fragile and inflamed.

One of my patients has placenta previa and came in at 33 weeks with bleeding that stopped. She is now almost 35 weeks and I have planned to do a c-section at 36 weeks. Today I repeated the ultrasound and it looked like the placenta may be only covering the cervix part way, and not fully. So I told her that we’d just wait and see if she bleeds. If she does, we’d do a c-section.

Her mother has been whining to me all week about going home. She’s tired of being at the hospital. It’s dirty here. She’s arabic and doesn’t like to be dirty. I’ve explained over and over that she’s here because she has a high risk of dying from bleeding. This morning it was the same thing on rounds. Finally, I said, “Ok, you can bring her home if you promise to come back in a week. No sex. No work.”

They are actually from NDJ, but had family here in Bere and promised to stay in Bere.

She packed up to go home. Then she broke her water. “Now she has to stay again. Let me know if she starts bleeding,” I told Sabine, the nurse.

I go home around 2pm and eat yummy burritos that my mom made today. Literally, she made hand-made tortillas! Yum! I love mexican food! I enjoy a little time playing with Lyol, Zane, and Addison.

About an hour later, Sabine calls me from the hospital phone, “She’s bleeding a lot!”

I call Mason on the phone and tell him to get to the OR as I’m walking quickly to the hospital. Dad is informed too to come help with surgery.

At the patient’s bedside, I lift up her dress and see about a liter of bright red blood between her legs. She’s got no IV. Her Hbg had been 13, so we’d probably be okay. Still, she’s bleeding. The placenta must have just been too close to the cervix.

We had known she would probably bleed, just was trying to get the baby more mature.

She was in the private room on maternity, thus there was no way to get the stretcher in the room. Plus, I would have to run all the way back to the OR to get it. There was simply no time! I wanted to get her into the operating room as fast as I could.

So I picked her up in my arms and carried her to the operating room. I felt like some hero on a movie set. Maybe just less makeup on me, and a little more fully clothed than today’s woman hero in the movies. Though blue scrubs are so sexy.

However, it wasn’t fake blood on a movie set. It was real blood. And we needed to stop it quickly.

Everyone gawked as I carried this hemorrhaging pregnant woman all the way to the OR. All the while blood is running down from her and saturating my scrub pants. There was no time! We had to get her into the operating room. Plus she only weighed about 90 lbs, so really was NOT heavy.

We all worked quickly. Ndilbe put a plastic drape down on the OR table. I yanked her pretty arabic dress and flowing drapes off that were now soaked with blood. Sabine got an IV and we poured IV fluid into her.

I listened for a heartbeat with the doppler, but couldn’t hear one and was convinced the machine just wasn’t working right. But I wasn’t sure if the baby was living. It didn’t matter either way. We had to stop the bleeding to save this mom’s life.

Mason quickly got her spinal and we prepped her abdomen. Dad and I scrubbed, and we did a quick entry. Cut to fascia. Rip fascia apart with fingers, rip muscles apart, tear into peritoneum. Bladder flap down, Cut into uterus. Rip uterus apart. Delivery of Baby….

Baby girl screams.


Close mom up.

Survey the scene.


This afternoon was one of those times. I told Mason in the OR that I had arrived. This is one of those times when you thank God that He has prepared you for this kind of life in the mission field. It’s exciting. It’s rewarding. I had the blessing of carrying a hemorrhaging patient into the operating room, cut out a screaming baby, stop mom’s bleeding, and be thankful to save two lives in the process. Our OR team is awesome. Life is good. God is good.

Back home to play with our kids. Aahhh…..After showering off the nasty blood of course.

As a friendly reminder, we accept tax-deductible donations through Adventist Health International at Or there’s a donate link on our website that will take you there. You can pay by PayPal and shoot AHI an email to notify them you sent in a donation for us. Or you can send a check to “AHI - Bere, 11060 Anderson Street, Loma Linda, CA 92350” or call 909-558-4540 or fax 909-558-0242 or You can even set up recurring donations. So many easy ways to give! AHI has a new standard of 100% of your donation will arrive here in Bere. They find all their overhead operating costs from other sources. Anyway, we’re very humbled by how God has chosen to use us and if you would like to be a part of it, please help with your prayers, finances if possible and volunteerism if you’re feeling called!

1 comment:

  1. Olen & Danae, whenever I read your blogs, I get overwhelmed by the craziness of it all. Praise God for the placenta previa baby! I appreciated your insight on abortions. I'm so sorry about your having to start PEP therapy! Also, glad you got Rhogam, but sorry about the situation surrounding that!!! =( Olen, great to see you in LL, although briefly. Danae, we missed you!!! We love you guys, and we're praying for you!!! =)