On the last Saturday of July, more than half of the residents took the PAACS remediation exam. Some took it just for practice. After analysis of the results, I was pleased to inform them that all but two passed with flying colors. The next big exams for them are the COSECSA exams on September 7.
Much of the past month has revolved around the first of the inspection tours by the Loma Linda University surgery department. Preparation of the records for review was intense and then there were all the logistics. Dr. Mark Reeves, a surgical oncologist at LLU who also heads up their general surgery training program, and Dr. Richard Catalano, a trauma surgeon at LLU, traveled with Dr. Keir Thelander, the incoming Chief Medical Officer of PAACS, and me to our programs in Malawi, Egypt and Ethiopia. Patti Catalano, an experienced cardiothoracic operating room nurse, also traveled with us to inspect the ORs. We arrived in Malawi on August 4 and returned home on the 15th (which included two days of sightseeing in Egypt). It was a brutal travel schedule, with a lot of night flights and usually with less than 48 hours at each place. Two more such trips are scheduled – one in September to the three programs in West Africa and one in January to all the programs in Tanzania and Kenya. Overall, the team was pleased to see the improvements since the last trip in 2012, but there remain problems at each place that are consistent with such works in the developing world. Please pray particularly for the need for surgical faculty at each place.
Your financial and prayer support of S3 Ministries continues to bear fruit. Over a year ago, we had funded a request from the mission hospital Loma de Luz near Balfate, Honduras (http://www.crstone.org/) for a Hospital Radio system. As usual, such things are often delayed but we were pleased to receive a note recently that the system is finally up and functioning. It will serve as a PA system as well as a method of entertainment and evangelism of patients and waiting families. Bill Mial of TransWorld Radio has worked with them to provide programming in Spanish and the system can serve as a recording studio for local health and spiritual messages. Just this week, we have received another request for a similar system (~$6,000) in Malawi. Please pray for these hospitals and that the Holy Spirit will bless the hearing of the Word.
As you may remember, I have been teaching Pediatric Advanced Life Support with the CMDA-CME for the past dozen years. With kids, there is an easy way to estimate children’s weight by measuring their height and it is used (and is designed) for the robust children of N. America. It doesn’t work well in the world of malnutrition and the developing world. Since we give mediation dosage by weight in children, an accurate tool was needed. I talked to a pediatrician friend about that a few years ago and was pleased to see the publication of his paper this week (and to see a passing message of my minimal contribution). The paper by Mark Ralston and Mary A. Myatt was entitled, “Weight Estimation Tool for Children Aged 6 to 59 Months in Limited-Resource Settings” and was published in PLOS, an on-line journal.
Micky went to the specialist at Duke University and further studies in the office confirmed that she has damage to both her bladder and the ureter from her surgery in June. The latter requires that the reconstructive surgery be done by yet another type of specialist and she has another appointment scheduled for September 7. It would appear that she will need definitive surgery abdominally, most likely sometime in early October. Although this confirmed what I had been telling her, it was still a psychological blow to her to hear it and to have the repair delayed further. She has amazingly remained a trooper throughout all of this. That timing for the surgery may require me to cancel a conference and a planned trip to Africa, but she is my highest priority.
Although the PET scan of my mother showed progression of her disease, the bone marrow biopsy did not show evidence of any cancer. That may just be a sampling error, but we will take any good news we are offered. They stopped many of her medications and she actually feels a bit better. She has been seen by the palliative care specialists for pain control. Thank you for your concern and prayers.