Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Good and the Bad

Marcel and Magnus
Sunday afternoon there was a knock on our door.  The hospital guard announced there was someone who wanted to see us.  In February I did a Blog about 8 year old Marcel who had Cerebral Malaria.  He had non-stop seizures and remained in a coma for days.  He slowly recovered and eventually was discharged functioning at about 80% of his prior level.  Our visitors were Marcel, his twin brother Magnus and their Grandmother.  They had stopped by to thank us for the care he had received and to show us he was now fully recovered.  They brought us a basket of eggs and a bag of dried beans in appreciation.  Despite difficulties speaking a common language we had a nice visit.

Today was a reminder that Malaria can be devastating.  I was called to the OPD shortly after I began Hospital rounds to see a sick child.  Grant was nearly 3 years old and been ill for 3 days with fever.  He was seen at a distant Health Center yesterday and referred to our hospital.  Due to distance and transportation issues Grant and his family did not arrive until this AM.  He was obtunded and had rapid respirations from acidosis.  He was extremely pale and his Hemoglobin was less than 6.0.  I started 2 anti-malarial medications, steroids and antibiotics.  Unfortunately Grant expired 3 hours later.  His parents had to suffer what nearly 1 million other parents experience yearly, the loss of a child to Malaria.

Last month there was news of a Malaria Vaccine that will likely be released next year.  It is not a perfect vaccine but will likely reduce the death rate in half, sparing 500,000 children and families annually.  Keep Grant and his family in your prayers.

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