Saturday, May 23, 2015
Baby “River” in emergency surgery, twice this week.
Some of you have heard about Baby River from my blog http://janinemaxwell.blogspot.com/2015/03/river-baby-suicidal-mom-tuberculosis-of.html. River was born on March 2nd, and was immediately put in a plastic bag and left on the side of the river to die. Fortunately he was found, but not before his backside was badly eaten by river crabs.
After having a double-colostomy he came to live at the El Roi Baby Home and healed in record time! Several weeks later he went back to the hospital to have his colostomy reversed, and the surgery happened without a glitch last week. A few days later, things took a turn for the worst. There was a breakdown at the surgical site and River had a belly filled with infection. The surgeon called to tell us that he needed to open up the baby again and try to close up the intestines.
Here is a challenge for us. We are the legal guardians of the baby, and so we wanted to move the child to a private hospital in Manzini (complete with ICU and Pediatrician), but the baby came to us through a different hospital, and the surgeon responsible for that child wanted to do his very best to help make the child well again. I totally get that, but what if we could do “better” than that by moving him?
We had a team (Brooke, Ken and Shongwe) in the car driving to the hospital to transfer the baby to the private hospital for the corrective surgery, but what if the baby died in the car under our care (against the advice of the attending surgeon/hospital)? We were in a tricky spot.
Thankfully, everyone involved truly does have the best interest of the child at heart. Brooke spoke directly with the Superintendent of the hospital attending to River and he assured us that River was getting good care and asked that we leave him there for the “clean up” surgery. Our team turned the around, crossed our fingers and prayed for the surgical team.
Three days later (yesterday) I got a call from the surgeon saying that the baby was not well at all. He needed to do a third abdominal surgery because puss was oozing out of the baby’s belly - the surgical site had broken down, again. He would clean up the wound, but also give the baby a new colostomy so that the internal wounds would have a better chance at healing.
I “just happen” to have the best surgeon in Swaziland on “speed dial” and I had him “on call” this whole week in case we could transfer the baby. I called him right away and while he agreed that the child should be moved to the private hospital and agreed that a new colostomy must be done right away, but in order to save the baby’s life the third surgery needed to be done before transferring the baby to the private hospital. I wanted to pull my hair out.
There was nothing we could do, but pray, and ask El Rofi (the God who heals), to be with the surgeon and guide his hands. Three hours later, I was called by the surgeon to say that the surgery went well, and he agreed to release the baby to us to be taken to the private hospital.
At first I planned on making the two-hour drive (each way) with Brooke, but the thought of having a 2-hour post-Operation baby in the back seat freaked me out. What if … ? Getting an ambulance and nurse is not an easy feat in Swaziland, but we had people at two hospitals (and me) working on it. Within an hour we literally had THREE ambulance options (ranging from $350US to free) and the child was on his way to the private hospital 75 minutes after surgery. The hospital staff in BOTH hospitals worked together beautifully and I was thrilled to see his little face when I arrived in Manzini.
River is in ICU now and we should hear from a Doctor today on his care plan, but for now, they are keeping him hydrated and treating for infection and we have an Auntie with him 24/7.
We are thankful for all who are praying for this little guy. We are thankful for all the nurses, doctors and Social workers in both hospitals who helped keep River alive. He is very strong and even 3-hours out of surgery was holding my finger tightly and talking up a storm. The cost to have him in the private hospital is close to $500 US per day. He has a large incision across his belly and has a new colostomy that will need to be reversed (again) in the future. If you can help us with his hospital costs we would be very thankful.
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Live from Swaziland … it has been an eventful week.