When our Director of Biomedical Equipment Training traveled to Liberia he met a young patient.
She loved to take her doll on adventures. They would explore the woods and play hide and seek, but their favorite thing to do was to climb trees. One afternoon she was playing in a tall tree near her house when she fell from one of the branches. Laying on the ground, she couldn’t get up — she couldn’t move at all. When her parents discovered her they knew something was wrong. The closest hospital was hours away and with no other options, they took her to the local healer. Without traditional medical care and equipment the healer couldn’t diagnose the extent of her injuries. He assumed that she had bruised her back and suffered a few pulled muscles, when she’d actually broken both her leg and spine. He applied a heating pad to her legs and she clutched her doll as she waited for the pain to subside. Unfortunately, the heating pad was too hot and it severely burned her legs. Seeing the terrible blisters on her skin, her parents rushed her to the closest hospital that could treat her — St. Joseph’s Hospital, a few hours away in Monrovia.
The doctors at St. Joseph’s set her broken bones as best they could without the assistance of X-ray machines, but they could do nothing about her wounds. They didn’t have the supplies needed to heal third degree burns. Despite the excruciating pain of her injuries, the doctors sent the girl and her family home without care. They were helpless to treat her.
A week later, MedShare donors sent supplies to St. Joseph’s. As soon as the donation arrived, the doctors sent for their tree-climbing patient. They now had the supplies they needed to care for her! Her burns were tended to, she got casts for her legs, and her spine was set properly with the help of brand new biomedical equipment.
Despite the terrifying ordeal, the brave little girl and her doll survived treatment. They lived to climb another tree — just maybe not quite so high next time!