The fund has also facilitated echocardiograms for some babies with severe heart problems this week, and on the weekend allowed me to help a mom get home who had spent so many days waiting to raise the last hundred dollars of her bill (the small part not covered by insurance or what her family had given) that he ran out of his seizure medicine and started to convulse again. Kijabe hospital is the hospital-of-choice for so many Kenyans these days of strike. We're a hundred times more functional than the rest of the public health care system, and much less expensive than the private Nairobi hospitals. So we get referrals from both. In many cases we give care that is just as excellent or perhaps better than our more trendy and pricey counterparts in the city. A recent ICU patient's family told Scott (after their relative survived a situation with about a 10% chance of making it through): we would always come here, it's not all STERILE like _______ (fill in name of "best" hospital in Kenya). Hmm. Not being too sterile is not always a plus, but we're glad we had these happy customers.
This weekend a similar family requested transfer from their super-duper ICU to ours, because they were out of money (cost ratio 20:1). Super-duper ICU didn't see the diagnosis right away in this newborn's xray: not sure I would either . . .
We can't fix all the problems, sadly. One of our other admits in the last few days was a baby born at home with a mid-facial cleft, a huge gaping hole in his face where his nose and lip should be. Sadly this is associated with a malformation of his brain (holoprosencephaly), probably his heart, and his kidneys and other organs. He will not be able to survive long, but we are working to pull him through his current meningitis and jaundice to hopefully reach a point where he can be held and fed and loved and taken home.
Which is a good thing about this job. I meet so many Heavenly citizens-to-be. I look forward to eternal conversation over very good coffee from some Africa, or perhaps a whole Africa-like planetary system, with some of my current patients who are the weak and wounded and sorrowful in this life, but destined to rule and shine in the life to come. So I'll close with a photo of the nearest-thing-on-earth cup of coffee Scott and I had on Friday. This is one of those piled-up call weeks (tomorrow will be the 4th night in 7 days), which made that moment all the more precious as a taste of what is not-yet but promised: