Shanksteps #118 
By Greg Shank 
February 25, 2009 


We decided to "take a day off" and go to Maroua to look for some personal things. As with most trips to Maroua we decided to check what things the hospital REALLY needed and maybe we would pick that up too. We, of course, came up with a huge list of medications we still have not been able to get and would look for in a few places, also : brooms, squeegee brushes for the floor, rakes for leaves, detergent for the laundry, and try to "repair" a few batteries that were shorted out, fill up a few gas tanks, buy cloth for sterilizing OR supplies in, and other odds and ends. So off to Maroua we went early in the morning. As you have probably read the road is not the best for the first 1.5 hours. (12 miles). It's like driving up stairs in places. Slow going and beats up the truck. Since the hospital does not have a vehicle we use our own to pick up medication shipments and carry most things to the hospital. It works well but only the front brakes work for now till I find someone who can fix a US trucks rear oil seals. 

We went the 1.5 hours to Mokolo then hit the good road to Maroua. In Maroua Audrey and Elisa (a good friend and nurse) headed for the market and I went to look for meds. Yves went to look for a solution for visas with immigration and Pierre to find his son to drop off some millet and peanuts for him. While looking for meds Ganava (maternity nurse) beeped me. I called him back to find out that there was a patient that was 9 months pregnant and was bleeding profusely vaginally, and the baby was dead. As I was three hours away I asked him to send the patient to Mokolo (the road like stairs) as that is the nearest hospital from us. 

Of the 35 types of medication we were looking for, 6 were available for us to buy. We were able to purchase all the other things we needed and headed for Koza around 5PM for the three hour drive home. On the way home another nurse (Kalda) called to see where we were. He said the woman's husband had finally showed up and they were deciding whether or not to go to Mokolo. At that point I was an hour away, she had survived all day, so I told them to wait, and get her ready in the OR. We got home and changed and went to the OR. 

The patient was still in the delivery dried pool of blood lay at least a yard wide in all directions. A slower drip had dried about a foot wide and had gradually mounded up with dried blood during the day. She was very pale. We called the lab tech to check the other members that were then present to give blood to her again. (Ganava had given a pint of blood earlier that day when only her husband would get tested and he was not a match) We started the surgery, pulling out a white, stiff baby, liters of blood and probably 2 liters of blood clots. Blood was everywhere! That was the 4th one in the last two weeks that had abrupt-placenta. And the fifth dead baby removed by caesarean section in that time frame. (the fifth was placenta previa) 

At the end of surgery I found out that the approximatively 8 women outside had refused to be tested to give blood. One had and didn't match. So I called Kanas into the OR and gave her 500ml of my blood. God had kept here alive till we got back, and while her husband was not there to make a decision to take her to another hospital. We praise God for His goodness to His children, even when they do NOT know Him.