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March 21, 2013

South Asia: A New Day

In this two-part series, a pediatrician shares her experiences as the Lord gently guided her in a new, albeit temporary, role.

  • Lifesaving Work

    Good obstetric care is rare here, so the work being done at the hospital for female patients is critically important.

A pediatrician stepped in to fill a need at a busy hospital while most of the other doctors were away for a few weeks. In this first part of a series, she shares her experiences as the Lord gently guided her in this new, albeit temporary, role.

Today was my first day, and the Lord was gracious enough to send lots of rain all last night and continuing all day today. Rain keeps people at home just like a snow day would in the United States, as the roads become muddy and messy. So we had a very light patient load, and Dr. Terell* had time to teach me some tricks in the operating room.

The adage is "see one, do one, teach one," which means I suppose I'm ready to teach C-sections as I assisted Dr. Terell perform one this morning. I was quick to tell her that as a pediatrician, it had been almost 30 years since I worked in a hospital, and I had never done a C-section in my life. Good obstetric care is rare here, and the ability to save a woman or a baby's life with a C-section is critical, so Dr. Terell took her time to walk me through the procedure.

The second C-section came shortly after the first, for a severely anemic mother with a baby that had already died. The mother was losing blood rapidly, and the baby needed to come out. Once the patient got some blood transfusions, we went to the OR. It was not an emergency, so we had plenty of time to manage the procedure. After we got all gowned up, Dr. Terell handed me the blade. "I knew it!" I exclaimed, and off we went. I did the procedure, while Dr. Terell assisted me and talked me through each step. It was not a joyous occasion for the mother, but it afforded us the time for teaching and learning.

Dr. Terell was very patient and a great teacher and demystified what I had thought was an impossible and complicated procedure. She gave me positive feedback and built up my confidence. I must admit I felt really clumsy and was sweating a lot and holding my breath at various times. But God is gentle and gracious, and I made it through. We put the mother back together in a fashion so that she can have more children – no big blunders. Dr. Terell leaves in four days, so I hope that I have more opportunities to learn from her before she goes. I thank the Lord for His gentle touch guiding me through this first day and for the rain, which provided me time to learn. Today, I saw the truth of this verse, "The Lord longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you compassion," -Isaiah 30:18.

-Written by a worker in South Asia
-Photo provided by worker

*not her real name


Click here for part two of our story.