Whatever happened to the refugees? Those questions are asked of us from time to time. The answer is that almost a million refugees are still in Bangladesh. There are really no signs their home country will take them back anytime soon, if at all.
While we do not have the large numbers of refugee patients (and volunteers to help) as we did in 2018, we still receive several patients each week referred to our hospital. The patients sent to us tend to be very difficult cases, to say the least.
Ummay is a married woman with 3 small children. This 22-year old had a malformation of arteries in her head and neck. The blood vessels were very large – finger size – and bled very easily. She nearly died from loss of blood on more than three occasions at other hospitals.
The angiogram outside revealed locations of the problem areas. Our surgeons spent time praying and discussing whether or not it was possible to do the needed surgery at our hospital. Unfortunately, there did not seem other good alternatives for a refugee lady without the ability to travel to another country. So, both surgeons along with the OR staff spent six hours in surgery correcting all they could. She received 6 units of blood during surgery but stayed stable. We were very glad that our ER nurse was able to spend the night caring for Ummay along with the hospital staff. That extra “insurance” made it possible for exhausted long-term medical staff to get some rest that evening with more peace of mind than usual.
Such a serious procedure always leaves one wondering whether or not the patient will survive. We wonder if the blood loss or possible oxygen loss could have caused brain injury. We wonder if her fragile body can withstand the stress of such major surgery. Would she have a bad reaction to all of the blood she received?
So, when she reached a hand to our nurse colleague, it was a wonderful sign. Understandably, Ummay gets very nervous about her condition – wondering if she will again start bleeding. Yet, holding her nursing friend’s hand, she was able to drift off to sleep.
Ummay continues to recover. She is now alert enough to hear what our medical team says. Caring for Ummay and other serious patients is exhausting mentally and physically. But that moment when she reached her hand to Ely’s was a precious moment for all of us – and a reminder that loving care still must happen one-by-one. We are thankful for this special MCH Moment.
Submitted by 2 MCH nurses