I had a new patient come into the malnutrition clinic this week.
His mother is sick and he needs a little help. He is almost 5 months old — and weighs only 7 pounds.
His dad has done a great job taking care of him, but doesn’t have enough money to feed him anymore. He was reported to have been born at only 910 grams (2.0 pounds).
It continues to amaze me how small some of these babies are when they are born — and are still able to survive here in Haiti.
In my last post I told you about Samuel. Well, there have been some changes with him. On Monday, Samuel came in to the clinic with his mom because a couple of his sisters were sick (Sam is baby #11).
On Tuesday, Samuel came into malnutrition clinic for his appointment, and was very sick. It was reported that he had been having severe vomiting and diarrhea. He was down to 2.19 kg (4.8 pounds). It doesn’t take long for these little ones to crash from dehydration. We tried some fluids to see if mom was just not trying. But everything came back up and out. So, we decided that an IV was the only fix for him.
Sometimes I feel like I am losing some of my EMS skills — as I don’t do a lot of American type EMS stuff here everyday. So, it was truly a blessing that God guided my hands to get an IV on this dehydrated 4-pound baby — on the first try! Especially as I really only found one place I could try.
I got the IV with a scalp vein. He responded well to some fluid but after maxing him out with 60cc's of fluid (about 4.5 of the single serving peel-and-pour coffee creamers), he really needed to continue to get more fluid later in the day.
We were very concerned with sending him home with this scalp IV. If something would happen, he could bleed to death before someone caught it. So, we decided one of the inpatient malnutrition centers would be best option for him. He was sent up the mountain for further care.
The next day we got a message from a friend that also has a ministry in Haiti and said "I think we both have something in common… we both helped Samuel!"
After a conversation, it was decided that Samuel’s mom was lying to both of us and taking advantage of our programs — and, possibly, others as well.
A trip up the mountain was scheduled for the next day and we were going to call her out on her actions.
When we arrived, we discovered more untruths!
We learned that the mother tried to leave the clinic (with Samuel) the night before, but was held by security and not allowed to leave.
The look on her face told it all — when Mom walked into the office and saw people from three separate malnutrition centers standing there!
But, as often occurs, without hardly missing a beat, she went into a story about how she hadn't lied. She said she was doing what she was supposed to do, and it’s not her responsibility to share her business with the other clinics she goes to — especially if the clinics don't specifically ask her if she's in any other programs.
It was pretty obvious that Samuel was being used as her "business."
She knew the day before that he was getting better (and she doesn’t want him to die). But, the sicker Samuel looks, the more money she can make off of him. She couldn't explain why he had gained more weight in the previous 50 hours as he had in the previous 5 weeks.
Samuel was getting very little of the formula that our clinics were giving her.
She was given the chance to come clean and apologize. Instead, she asked about money.
She was given very specific instructions as to how things were to continue with the inpatient program. She was told that Samuel would not be leaving until he's big and healthy. She was advised that if she breaks any of the rules, she would not only be kicked out of the inpatient program, but not to bother coming back to any program.
It is such a burden to our heart to have to be like this but allowing people to take advantage of your program for financial gain. The child is no better off in the program as they don’t get the help anyway.
We had a few mothers that did not come to clinic this week. Maybe the word got out!
We had another conversation with the parents who were at clinic… but it will always be a struggle.
There was a great team that stayed in the guest house last week. It was such a blessing to have them. Samuel was truly a source of mixed emotions as his story played out during the week.
I was truly blessed and humbled at the beginning of the week by one of those team members. He said that God has placed my ministry on his heart. Through a mutual friend he became aware of a way to bless the work of Kelby’s Kids and the new Maternal Health Clinic.
He purchased and brought down with him this new portable ultrasound machine!
It was overwhelming!
It will have such a HUGE impact on the level of care that I can provide — not to mention the lives that'll be saved. I have had to send 2 mothers already for an ultrasound at $4,000.00 HTG. Plus, I lost contact with one of them for a while after it took some time to get it done. I had 3 moms that I would loved to have given ultrasounds, but ended up just watching them.
The first day it was used, I was able to check 3 healthy babies, confirmed a set of twins, and, unfortunately, confirmed 2 miscarriages. One of them had been told she needed a D&C.
At General Hospital, because of the poor conditions, it could be deadly (not to mention, the hospital is on strike again). But with the ultrasound, we could tell that the miscarriage was complete and there was no need for a dangerous D&C.
This ministry has truly been blessed!
There are burdens and there are blessings. I am thankful and blessed by each person who has partnered with the work of saving lives and making a difference to the children and people of Haiti. Some days the scales may seem to be tipping the wrong way but it is always short lived as together we continue to make a difference for so many.
So, I leave you with a little cuteness but more importantly a life that has been changed because YOU cared enough to help her!
Until No Child Dies,