Monday, 24 June 2013

National Day of Mourning

The stats for violence against women in PNG are staggering--some of the worst in the world.  Half of women have been sexually assaulted.  Two thirds are victims of domestic violence.  Not to mention torture for witchcraft, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, and other heavies that disproportionately affect women.  YIKES.

Due to some high profile cases and grass-roots efforts, people are beginning to speak out.  On May 15th, we observed a National Day of Mourning.  Rallies were organized around the country to bring attention to the problem of violence against women.  Nazarene Hospital sponsored its own event in the outpatient department.  Waiting patients, their watchmen, and whoever else happened to be around head presentations by Voice of Change and some of our hospital leaders.  A community man spoke on behalf of all men, apologizing for the treatment of their mothers and wives and sisters and daughters.  Our hospital chaplain shared a brief devotional and lead in a time of prayer.

One very small step in the fight against violence in PNG!

Here are a couple of links to additional articles relating to this issue...

Day of Mourning

PNG Prime Minister apologizes for violence against women

Women in PNG:  blue ribbon for abuse, white ribbon for violence

Crying Meri:  violence against women in PNG

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
~ Matthew 5:4

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Brutus really is a wonder dog

Beck (and Pamela) and I moved into a new house about 4 months ago.  Since the move, our dog Brutus has managed to catch three rats and one mouse.  I'm not sure it is intentional, because Brutus is so stinkin' sweet he wouldn't hurt a flea.  He probably sees the rodent scurrying across the floor and thinks of it as some sort of toy.  It appears that the rat or mouse is then drooled to death, as we find an intact but slobber-covered carcass on his blanket the following morning.

I heard a bit of commotion in the living room about three AM this morning.  Sure enough, Brutus had added another mouse to his tally.  He is pretty proud of himself.  And righty so, 'cause this pooch is more than worth his weight in gold!

Assault with a deadly weapon

This week is General Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene.  Tens of thousands of Nazarenes from around the world are gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana to attend conventions, take care of church business, and to worship together.  About 80 Papua New Guineans are there taking part in the events.

General Superintendent J.K. Warrick spoke during the Friday evening service.  Here is an incredible story that Dr. Warrick shared about D.S. Andrew and his wife Erika.  Andrew is the district superintendent for the Western Highlands Province in PNG.  I wasn't there myself because someone had to stay and look after our patients, so the story is retold by Dr. Andy Bennett.


Hired thugs came to the district center to kill D.S. Andrew.  Andrew and Erika were warned, and hid.  But when Erika knew that the thugs had entered her house where her children were, she went to their aid.  Thinking that it was unlikely that the men would want to hurt anyone except Andrew, he remained in hiding.

The men accosted her, and demanded to know where Andrew was, threatening to kill her if she didn't tell.  They struck her on the wrist with a bush knife, but only a small scratch resulted.  They then placed an AK47 against her jaw, and again demanded that she tell them where Andrew was.  When she still refused, they fired the gun.  Although it discharged, and she fell to the ground, only a small red mark was left on her face where the muzzle of the gun had been.

When several neighbors, hearing the shot, rushed outside to see what was going on, the thugs jumped into their car and sped away.

Dr. Warrick had shared the story a few weeks later in a camp meeting message.  After the service George Wood approached him to tell that he had had a vision of shooting a Christian with an AK47, and had had been praying that God would plug the barrel of any AK47 used to try to harm a believer.  A week or two before this meeting, he had felt relieved of the burden to pray for this.

This evening in the service, Dr. Warrick shared the story again.  He had arranged for Andrew and Erika and the Woods to be seated in the front row, and introduced them.


"He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name."
~ Psalm 18:47-49

Friday, 21 June 2013

Barnabas Award

Pamela West is a repeat volunteer at Kudjip.  We pretty much can't keep her away.  She has traveled to PNG five times now, giving of her talents and her life.  And she is VERY talented.

Pamela is a radiographer (x-ray technician.)  Every time she comes, we notice a dramatic improvement in the quality of our x-rays.  She does a wonderful job training our national staff.  And she has miraculously kept our equipment running despite power surges and broken machines and water shortages.

In addition to her technical skills, she is a blessing to missionaries and nationals alike.  Pamela is a banana-bread-baking, dish-washing, dog-walking, house-sitting, friend-making servant!

Pamela recently finished up a six month stay at Kudjip.  Just before she left, she was presented with the Barnabas award.  I missed the special day because I was away on holiday.  Here is what Dr. Erin wrote in her blog...

"[The Barnabas Award is] an award that we give out to folks who have gone above and beyond the call and have encouraged us as they have served.  Pam definitely deserves this award and I am thankful that I have had the chance to know her and have certainly been encouraged by her example of service.  Thank you Pam for loving and serving our Lord and for serving us."

Pamela Westimela... YOU ROCK.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
~ Colossians 3:23-24

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bili light

This is a borrowed post from Dr. Andy and Judy Bennett.  Original appeared on their Facebook page on June 13.


Some months ago, we got an email from an Austrlian high school senior (they don't use that term there, just "Grade 12"), who had build a bili light as a school project, and wanted to donate it to Nazarene Hospital. 

"Bili" is short for bilirubin, a substance that is normally present in everyone's blood, but in certain circumstances it is present in excess amounts in small babies, where it can do brain damage. Bilirubin is removed from our body by interacting with ultraviolet light in our skin. When we need to reduce the bilirubin levels quickly in babies, we expose them to UV light by using specially-designed lights. In the past fluorescent lights were the only real way to do this, but now LEDs can be designed to emit any wavelength of light, and bili lights are now made with those. We have not had any kind of bili light. Well, except sunlight, but as you can imagine, laying a tiny, critically-ill premature newborn out on the lawn isn't the way we prefer to do it. Some of our doctors have experimented with a small black light, but it's too small, and hasn't really worked. 

But Rebekah Clark built one, and has planned to donate it to us, along with a meter to monitor the amount of UV light the baby is receiving. We just got word that she is ready to send them to us. I asked her to send some photos of herself with the light before sending it off. I promised to send her pictures of the light in use here.

I asked Rebekah to share a little more about herself. This is what she wrote:

"My name's Rebekah Clark and I'm an 18 year old medical student in South Australia. I built the light as a school project for my final year of high school. My dad visited the US in January 2012 and when he came back he told me about a man he'd met who'd worked out how to make the bili lights. I got in contact with them, and using photos and a parts list, came up with a plan to make one on my own. I thought that making one would be a great idea for my 'Research Project' (a mandatory Year 12 subject where you pick something that interests you and use it to develop your research skills and other skills for later life). I successfully applied for medical school at the end of last year and am just finishing my first semester now."

Thank you, Rebekah!

Monday, 10 June 2013

To God be the glory

Thank you to those of you who are praying for my patient Rebecca.

I went by to see her this morning.  She greeted me with a huge hug!  Her condition is improving... her creatinine (kidney test) went from 9.5 to 8 (normal is 1).  I am hopeful that it will continue to go down.  And she looks GREAT.

To God be the glory!!!

"Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen."
~ Psalm 72:18-19

Saturday, 8 June 2013


When I arrived on D-ward one morning this last week, Sister Wari pulled me from the nursery where I usually start rounds.  There was a critical patient in the delivery room...

Rebecca had delivered her first baby the night before.  The baby was born without a heart beat and was not able to be resuscitated.  He died before taking even one breath.

But the tragedy didn't end there.

Several hours after her delivery, Rebecca began to bleed heavily.  She was given all the right medicines to help contract her uterus and stop the bleeding.  But it just kept coming.  The doctors were called in, more medicines given, a balloon placed in the uterus, lacerations repaired, and five units of blood transfused.  By the time I arrived in the morning, her condition had worsened.  She started to bleed again.  She had no pulse or blood pressure, no urine output.  Rebecca was in shock.  And we were in a fight for her life.

I began barking orders:  "Start another IV.  Get that fluid running in fast.  She needs more blood. STAT!!!"  I found some dopamine and started her on a drip that brought her blood pressure up.  It was still low, but at least she had a pulse.  We gave her a couple more units of fresh blood, including one of my own.  Dr. Jim was consulted.  He replaced the uterine balloon and then took Rebecca to surgery to re-repair her lacerations.

Things were touch and go overnight, but by morning Rebecca was starting to perk up.  I stopped the dopamine and her blood pressure remained stable.  We removed the uterine balloon; thankfully she didn't start to bleed again.  Follow up labs resulted later that afternoon.  I was more than happy with a hemoglobin of 9.5, which means we replaced her entire blood volume with transfusions.

My biggest concern is Rebecca's renal function.  Shock had left her kidneys without blood and oxygen for too long.  And now they are failing.  Creatinine has increased from 1.9 to 5.5 to 9, and it may continue to go up from there.  Unfortunately there isn't much we can do for acute renal failure--no medicines to jump start the kidneys, no dialysis to take their place.  Time will tell if they start to work again on their own.  We will just have to wait and see if our patient is going to recover.

Rebecca was transferred to surgery ward where Dr. Jim is continuing to care for her.  Her overall condition is much improved.  In fact, she looked great when I stopped by to visit her this morning!  But looks can be deceiving.  Rebecca needs a miracle.  I am asking the Great Physician for His healing touch upon this young woman.  Will you join with me in praying for her?

"Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them an anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven."
~ James 5:14-15

Monday, 3 June 2013

Hewa--one year later

WOW, incredible to think that it has been a year since our trip to Hewa.  Here is an update from Susan Kopf, New Tribes missionary and nurse.  Thank the Lord for what He is continuing to do among the Hewa people!


Dr Allan,
Hi, looking forward to seeing you all soon. It has been two years since we hugged our two children and we are very very ready! I am looking forward to cooking for them again! We are counting the days.
Things in this new village are going quite amazing. We never dreamed it would be going this well. The village has grown a lot. People from all over are moving here to hear the gospel and be closer to medical help. The class you taught a year ago has had an incredible impact on our people. Emiyas has been my right hand with the ladies and she has been invaluable! She knows the culture and she is able to teach the ladies in such a way that they that they can understand. Anyway, I wanted to share what was going on in here two weeks ago.
A lady and her husband from a village, that is a 12 hour hike away, arrived one evening with a very sick little 2 week old. This couple did not attend your class last year but did hear about it so she came in February for a prenatal check-up. Emiyas and I checked her out and Emiyas did a lot of teaching with her about childbirth, just as you taught her. We then gave her a few baby receiving blankets and a brand new razor and instructed her not to use it until it was time to cut the cord. If it was used, we instructed her to boil it well first.
As soon as I saw the little baby boy, I was sure he wouldn’t make it through the night. His fontanel was sunken deep and his face was contorted in pain. The little baby was super sick. His cord had been cut with an old razor (she didn’t save the razor for birth). On top of that, she didn’t tie the cord shut at birth and on top of that did the traditional custom of always squirting milk on the cut cord before putting the nipple into the baby’s mouth. That combined with the belief that if they don’t take a razor and make about 20 superficial slits on a newborns abdomen, the child will get a huge belly when it is older (worm belly). All of that combined equaled a massive infection of the lining around the intestines. The entire abdomen was rock solid hard. The belly button was protruding nearly 2 inches and looked pus filled and very red and painful. He was throwing up bile out of his nose and mouth often and had diarrhea. He was very hot as well. The baby was pooping so I suspected there was no intestinal blockage. He should have died! It is a miracle. Anyway, he was in so much pain that he didn’t sleep for the next few days, he just cried and cried and sucked his mom’s milk hoping that would relieve his pain. Eventually he lost his voice completely. I gave him a strong antibiotic immediately and within 3 days I could see considerable healing. I began to think he had a chance but now all he could do was sleep. He couldn’t suck anymore. He was too weak and dehydrated. I was frustrated because it was a miracle he survived and it didn’t seem right that he would now die of dehydration so I decided to put a tube in his belly through his nose to feed him and give him a rest. Of course I didn’t have one so I found a butterfly infusion tube for IVs (I believe you left it here) and we cut off the butterfly needle and then lit a match at the blunt plastic end and heated it slightly to soften the fresh cut plastic so it wouldn’t scratch all the way down. We also cut some holes on the side a centimeter above so that milk could come out there as well. I happen to have a manual breast pump so we expressed mom’s milk (they never heard of such thing) and then put her milk along with rehydration fluids, in syringes. After putting the tube in and checking for placement with the stethoscope, I then slowly gave him all the milk and his meds that way for a 24 hour period of time. The plan was to give him a 24 hour rest from sucking so he could sleep and get stronger. Sure enough, when the 24 hours were up, the little miracle was sucking strong. Now two weeks later, I don’t even recognize him! He is gaining weight and looking great. He has an umbilical hernia so his belly button is a bit larger but only a centimeter so he should be fine.
Anyway, the other miracle is that because of your teaching, the whole village reacted differently. As soon as the couple arrived with their sick baby, I needed to view the baby fully so I asked that he be taken out of the string bag. Well that is a huge no no in this culture but our villagers were fine with it and they coxed the father and mother to take him out of the string bag. This was the first time the father (and most men around) had ever seen a newborn. Our people taught that it was the ancestor’s lies that told them men can’t see a newborn. From then on, the baby was out of the bilum in the home they slept in and everyone viewed the baby freely. Within a week the father was actually holding the newborn.
Our Hewans came in to the house of the sick newborn regularly. They were all worried that mom would lose some of her milk while the baby was so sick so they brought cooked greens, sugar cane and other foods for mother. Emiyas came at one point and washed the newborn for the mother and gave the mother a new outfit to wear. When I came in to feed the newborn or give meds, the house was always full of men sharing the word with the father and mother and praying for the baby. Traditionally, nobody mourns the death of a newborn. It is expected but our people were showing that this little life was important and loved.
I am still in shock when I see the baby and remember all that the Lord has done. It was amazing to see the community come together to show this family love and care. This family has now decided to move her and live with us in this village. I will actually get to see this little one grow up.
Anyway, I wanted you to know that your classes had a huge impact on this village. I see it nearly every day! Thanks for taking the time and energy and finances to serve the Lord in this way.