Thursday, December 23, 2010


 Terry and I have so many things to be thankful for this Christmas Season.  We feel so blessed to be part of Mission Doctors Association.  This would not be possible without the prayers and financial support directed to MDA.  Your financial support to MDA has allowed us to set up an account here at the hospital to pay for tests and medications when patients can not afford them.  I would like to share with you how your financial support can affect an individual on this end. 

Blessing is a young mother who has been in the hospital the last 6 weeks.  She was found to have HIV and had a series of secondary infections which have kept her from recovering and going home.  During her hospital stay she found out her husband has had HIV for some time and has been on treatment but failed to let her know about his illness and the risk to her and their 1 year old son.  To make matters worse her husband literally walked out on her and their son a month ago.  She has been in the hospital without a care giver and has been getting food from other patients and care givers to survive.  She has had to continue nursing her son even though it poses a risk of passing on her HIV but she has had no resources to buy food for him.
We were able to use donor funds to pay her medical bills and provide money for her to travel back to her family which lives hundreds of miles away.  Your generosity allowed Blessing this special Christmas gift and knowledge that there are people in the world who care about the less fortunate and are willing to do something about it.
Blessing and Poukline
Terry and I join Blessing and her son to thank you and wish you a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Still a Killer

Malaria is part of our lives here.  If a patient has fever there is a good chance that there is malaria.  With few exceptions we treat for Malaria whenever fever is present.  Malaria medications is one thing we have not run out since I have been here.  While people may be very ill with Malaria they almost always respond to treatment and usually are much improved by the next day.
This weekend we had a reminder that Malaria is still a killer.  A 16 year old girl was admitted over the weekend with a fever of 105 and a decreased level of consciousness.  Despite treatment with  our 2 strongest medications she never regained consciousness and died 3 days later.  

The World Health Organization figures still show over 1 million deaths annually from this disease throughout the world.  We are keeping this girl and her family in our prayers this week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Early

Happy with their straight legs
A team of orthopedic surgeons from the Netherlands was here one month ago.  In eight days they operated on 80 children straightening crooked legs.  They have been coming to St. Martin de Porres Hospital for years delivering this wonderful service.  The children remain here for three months and when their cast are removed they go to Bafut, a rehabilitation hospital also run by the Franciscan Sisters.  

Terry and I have enjoyed interacting with the children as they recover.  They all have big smiles admiring the straight plaster casts covering their legs.  

They and their families are enjoying this special Christmas Season!                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making a Difference

Today, I was walking by the lab and I ran into Anita and a passel of kids.  Anita is from Germany and is working for an NGO in a nearby village.  She was bringing a group of children in for HIV testing.  The children she brought in were from situations where a parent had known HIV or were at high risk for it.  Hopefully, all the tests will be negative. 

I have been fortunate to meet quite a few young people from the US and Europe who are working in this area of Cameroon for several NGOs.  It is evident to me there are many people doing God's work serving the poor here.  Working together we are making a difference.  Keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Additional Hazards

Last evening I was called to the hospital to evaluate a snakebite.  There was a large crowd of people outside of the ward.  They had accompanied 2 children. 

Earlier in the evening Grandma had prepared a meal for her grandchildren, 2 year old twins and a 5 year old girl.  A black cobra had apparently entered the house and one of the twins sat down on it.  She was bitten along with her 5 year old sister.  The 2 year old died on the way to the hospital and the 5 year old was vomiting.  The older sister is doing well this morning while the family mourns the loss of her sister. 

There are so many additional hazards to life in a developing country that take their toll.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Update on Oliver

Last month I wrote about Oliver who arrived confused after having severe headaches for 1 month. 

He was diagnosed with Cryptococcal Meningitis and HIV.  He responded nicely to medications and was able to go home after 2 weeks. 

He returned for follow-up feeling well and looking great.

These success stories are wonderful to witness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Christine and her daughter
Christine is a 52 year old lady admitted this week.  While we see many interesting cases her's is more unusual than most.  

4 months ago a banana tree fell and hit her in the head causing complete paralysis.  After spending 1 week in the hospital the family took her to a Traditional Doctor.  Over the last 4 months she slowly regained movement, first in the arms and then in the legs.  She began walking with assistance just a few days before coming in. 
She came to the hospital because of persistent shock like paraesthesias shooting from the base of her neck into her arms and legs.  Her x-rays suggest a fracture of T-1(just below the neck).   I have begun a seizure medication which will hopefully reduce her pains.