Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kenya clinic day 2

Sometimes, things just don't seem fair. And today was one of those days. We saw just over 200 patients, in a village far from any paved road, about an hour and a half outside of Malindi. It was remote, a few mud huts and a lot of vegetation. The Kenyan HCWs and the US medical team worked together seeing patients, with light drizzles of rain and bursts of sunshine taking turns throughout the day. We saw lots of malnutrition and a host of other diseases, and we all agreed that the children we saw today were sicker than those we saw yesterday. There was also a clear difference between the health of the sponsored children and those who weren't sponsored. The sponsored children were sick, but the others were much sicker. Gives some affirmation that what MoM does for their children gives them at least a much better chance at life. And so what about this "life isn't fair" issue? Without getting into details, we saw 2 children who had significant medical issues which could have been addressed and the children made better, but due to circumstances, they were not going to be able to be helped. They were un-sponsored children with complex medical issues that would involve a great deal of resources, time and commitment. The sadness of it all was that if done right, both would be able to go on and life better lives. We struggled with the questions of should we jump in and start the process of diagnostic tests, referrals to specialists, and recommending advanced medical care, or leave well enough alone, knowing that unless we did this right and committing to see it through all the way (years of specialized medical care, etc), we were only giving false hope for a better tomorrow. To start a process and then abandon it half way through just doesn't make sense and just should not happen. There is a right and best way to do things. And the right and best thing to do here was to leave well enough alone. Sounds cold and uncaring doesn't it. But here's the question I pose of you: would you have done anything different and if so would you have been able to make a 100% guarantee of full commitment? Because if you couldn't, that child living in the bush of Kenya, will be waiting for the promise of cure and a better life, becoming more and more disillusioned with life than he was before. There is nothing more heart breaking than a broken heart from a broken promise. So we decided as we did and that is the reality of third world medicine. There are just some things we just can't do. You turn away and hope that they don't see the tears in your eyes. Life isn't fair is it. Today was bitter sweet. We helped a lot of children and walked away from 2 who needed more than we could give. And I'm so sorry for that. Can 2 children with very special needs find it in their hearts to forgive? I hope so. I'm asking for it.
In all things give thanks,
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