Friday, December 31, 2010

Two Broken Legs and a Baby.


Last night I was called to the clinic to help with an emergency. Two women were in critical condition after being hit by a truck. To get to them, I had to walk through a dozen somber looking men gathered on the clinic porch. They pressed in to see but our staff barricaded the doors; the doctors needed space to work.

My patient was named Adong. She looked to be in her twenties and had a severe fracture of her left femur; it lay unnaturally swollen and twisted. When I lifted it back in place, I could see where her bones were no longer connected. It was a clean break -- No doubt a painful one.

While irrigating a deep gash on her foot and removing mud and sand from various wounds, I was able to piece together her story. She and her sister-wife, were walking alongside a road when a land cruiser hit them, sending them flying. The driver stopped, abandoned the vehicle and ran for his life. They knew both the driver and the vehicle well. There was no doubt who was responsible. 

Only then did she ask me if her baby was okay. What? She’s pregnant? I made her repeat herself. She explained she was five months along.
-- “My stomach hurts a lot. Is my baby okay?” She groaned in delirium as I palpated her belly.  “It hurts everywhere.” I could feel the well formed baby beneath her skin, perhaps she was more than five months.
-- “Can you feel your baby moving?” I asked. But she seemed not to hear... or understand. Instead she repeated how she was in pain and wanted to turn on her side.
-- “Your leg can’t be moved right now. Why do you want to turn?”
-- “I have to turn because my baby is uncomfortable in this position. I have to lie on my side.”
-- “Please don’t move. I’ll check on your baby. Just don’t move.”

Adong with Dr. Tom
As I got the doppler and ultrasound gel, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d have a third victim on our hands. Relief rushed through me when I immediately found a solid heartbeat.
-- “Adong, your baby is fine.” I reassured her. “He’s fine. Meth Apoul. He’s doing well. ”

The room sighed in relief with me... but she moaned. The pain was intense. I took her hand and prayed. I couldn’t thank Him enough that they were all alive. It could have been much worse. I then went to pray with Amer, her sister-wife in the next room. Amer sustained a fractured right leg and several facial lacerations. She was stable and despite the blinding pain, would live.

The crowds continued to come and go. Among those pressing to get into the clinic were newspaper reporters and police investigators. Everything had to be documented. The man who hit them was a foreigner, an Ugandan. He worked for a Christian relief organization. Worse still, he attends our church and once worked with our ministry. We know him well.

As the reality of this news became clear, each face grew heavy in question marks and concern. Would their family retaliate? Would he be killed? Would he flee to Uganda? How will any good come of this? Answers would come in time. So we turned in for the night.
Amer after being stabilized.

This morning’s light brought more officials, commissioners and looky-loos. It took some time for the women to be moved to our vehicle. But by mid-morning all was arranged and they left for Wau.

I also learned that the driver was arrested (mostly for his protection) and is now being held in custody. Since no one died, his life is not in jeopardy but he will have to pay several fines. 

Please pray with me Romans 8:28 for our Ugandan brother. Pray for wisdom, peace, protection and grace. Pray for these women and their families; healing, life, forgiveness and mercy. May this little baby grow healthy and strong. Amen.