"Every day we rely on prayers to God for miracles for our patients."
I arrived in Kijabe, Kenya after traveling for 33 hours from Canada. About an hour’s drive from Nairobi, it’s as if the entire town was built around the missions hospital.
Kijabe is not very big, but God has provided abundantly with many long and short-term missionaries over the years. The hospital is a major training center for nurses, nurse practitioners, interns, and residents. As a missions hospital, all of its employees and trainees are Christian, and the cost for care is much more affordable for locals than at other hospitals in part because of donations, as well as private clinics run by hospital clinicians to support disadvantaged patients.
Over the past two weeks, all the government medical workers in Kenya have been on strike, which means hundreds of government-run hospitals are temporarily closed. As a result, Kijabe—which is one of the few missions hospitals still operating in the area—is literally bursting at its seams. God is really perfect in His timing; myself and another short-term family medicine resident arrived at the same time and immediately began serving as extra helping hands.
I’ve been on the Intensive Care Unit this past week, and praise God for the capacity of this hospital to house five patients on ventilation. It’s nowhere near enough for the volumes of sick patients we see, but at least we are not having to turn away those who would otherwise die immediately without the ventilator. Daily we face decisions about which patients we can move from the ICU to make room for others waiting in the emergency room.
There are lighthearted moments too—like the time a monkey snuck into our ICU and literally rampaged around, swinging off walls and ventilators!
Doctoring in a missions hospital is certainly different from being back home. Every day we begin rounds with ward prayers, then we pray individually for each ICU patient after we do rounds as a team. The nurses have daily morning devotions in the staff room. We often pray at the end of family meetings, and when we need to break bad news to a family, we gather in the chaplain’s office and have them pray for all of us at the end.
I have seen lots of trauma so far, such as a fisherman who was fatally attacked by a hippo, and numerous motor vehicle accidents leaving patients quadriplegic or with severe brain damage. Sadly, very few of these trauma patients make it out of the ICU alive, and while sometimes their injuries would not have been life-sustaining even in the best North American hospitals, at other times we just don’t have the means to support them.
Every day we rely on prayers to God for miracles for our patients.