Dear Friend of Dr. Catena,
She had been pushing against a closed birth canal for a full day. In her remote village in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, only traditional birth attendants were available to assist women in labor — and they do not know how to check the birth canal or the position of the baby. Eventually, all that pushing caused her uterus to rupture and the baby died. At that point, she had only one hope of survival.
Tom is the only surgeon, and has been for the last decade through bombings and war and drought. When the young woman arrived at Gidel, Tom operated, removing the dead baby, repairing the uterus, and saving the woman’s life.
She was one of 140 patients Tom saw in the hospital on a recent weekday during my visit. Yes, in one single day. Children who had fallen from trees or suffered burns. Mothers after C-section with their healthy babies. Mothers with their sick babies, often from a bloodstream infection. Victims of gunshot wounds. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Tuberculosis of the brain and lung and spine.
When he steps out from seeing the post-operative mothers, a nurse brings a woman with leprosy who would require a year of treatment in the “leprosy village” established to care for patients who cannot travel long distances from their homes.
And it’s not even the malaria season yet. When the rains come, the wards, already crowded, will be filled beyond bursting.
Thank you for your partnership with this remarkable man and life-saving hospital.
Jon Fielder, MD
African Mission Healthcare,
A Foundation Serving Mission Hospitals