A Sobering Thought–from Susan Westwood

Tom here – please take the time to read this and then say an extra prayer for the health of the children at GLA and also say an extra prayer for the emotional and physical strength of all of the staff and nurses who work so hard caring for the “least of these.”

A Sobering Thought

We have an outbreak of Vomiting and Diarrhoea at GLA's main house. It is the first since our new water treatment system has been installed. Symptoms are developing over a course of 2-3 days. The diarrhoea is severe and oral rehydration alone has only been sufficient treatment for a few cases. Today, I have several children on antibiotics (including 4 newborn infants) and two on IV fluids.

Sonia w
as so dehydrated that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get a working IV line into her. Thankfully, IV fluids and antibiotics helped her recover rapidly. This baby had had a difficult two weeks. She had a respiratory infection and was on oxygen for 10 days. She came off of the oxygen on Thursday and went up on an IV the same day. She had herechocardiogram last week and we are waiting for the results, and hoping that they will reveal something that we can do to relieve Sonia's symptoms. Her breathing has been laboured ever since she came toGLA and she gets very tired when she sucks on her bottle. We suspect that these difficulties are related to a heart condition.

I was worried when Maudlin developed diarrhoea and vomiting. He weighs just 4lb. He was unable to tolerate his milk feeds and he was jaundiced. In the developed world, we take few chances with sick newborns, and in countries like Haiti, where babies immune systems are compromised by malnutrition from the time they are in their Mothers' womb, we take even fewer chances.
Maudlin was started on IV antibiotics right away. Over the weekend, he has been able to tolerate continuous feeds of a milk formula that has been specifically developed for infants with gastroenteritis. This formula is easier to digest and has higher levels of specific nutrients that have been proven to shorten the course ofdiarrhoeal illnesses. Maudlin's milk feeds are being delivered through our new feeding pump. If we didn't have it, Maudlin would have needed an IV, and without the nutrition from his milk, he would have taken much longer to recover.
I received an anonymous message from someone who would like to try to obtain another feeding pump for GLA. You can click here to see the make and model of the pump that we currently have. I would cetrtainly appreciate another pump - it is always useful to have back-up equipment in a country like Haiti, where there are no technicians on hand to fix faulty medical equipment.

Meanwhile, tiny Bobo is struggling with a bad cold. He is unable to drink from a bottle and is on oxygen and receiving tube feeds. I really hope that he doesn't catch gastroenteritis on top of this.
I was talking to Dixie Bickel, who is currently in the states, a few nights ago. I was worried. A few days before, we had received news that the Baptist Mission Hospital had received it's first confirmed cholera case. The hospital is just 5 miles away. As I struggled to keep up with the sick kids I had, it was painfully obvious to me that if we received a single case of cholera, we would not be able to contain the spread of the disease. Lack of space would make that impossible. Dixie shared my anxieties. We are in the process of implementing a very strict cholera prevention protocol and we are trying to obtain a several dozen doses of DUKORAL, an oral vaccine against the strain of cholera bacteria that is causing the current outbreak in Haiti.

Pray with me that by God's grace, these measures will protect our staff and children from this life-threatening illness. These past 10 months we have experienced incredible trauma and grief for all of us at GLA. Through it all, God never left us. He has protected us. He has faithfully provided. He has blessed us beyond anything we could even think to ask of him. We take none of that for granted. We know we can't afford to.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. kelly wrote:
I know the vaccine isn't here in the US, its in canada, but how much does it cost per dose needed for GLA? like if someone in the USA wanted to donate money to GLA Canada, how much would they have to give? Just wondering

Mon, November 29, 2010 @ 7:49 PM

2. Tom Vanderwell wrote:
Kelly, We're working on that. Apparently Eli Lilly does make the vaccine. We're working on the details on where we'd have to get it, how much it would cost, the logistics etc. If anyone knows people at Eli Lilly, please get in touch with me. Tom

Mon, November 29, 2010 @ 9:05 PM

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