Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story...

A patient I have been treating for the past three months named Maria is the subject of my story. She is 30 years old and I admitted her to the ICU in September for a number of serious problems. She was in pulmonary edema with a low blood pressure, on Coumadin with an INR well over 35 with a low HCT requiring emergent blood transfusions, and she had a loud systolic heart murmur. She spent a few weeks in the ICU and ultimately was stabilized and went home. Since that time she has been stable on a mix of medications. An echo showed severe mitral valve stenosis. The valve is so damaged that it is just a matter of time before she decompensates again. This is where a friend of mine comes in. Beth is a doctor from Boston who spent four months working in our ICU and somehow has connections to a group of Italian heart surgeons who do charity care. Maria needs a valve surgery that is not available here in Kenya. She is a rural Kenyan who has never flown on an airplane or had the need for a passport. She speaks no English and has little money. We were able to send her medical information to the heart specialists who agreed that she was a candidate for a heart operation. It just so happens that this Italian group is based in Khartoum, Sudan. The Christmas miracle is that we were able to get Maria a Passport, Visa, plane ticket, and spending money. Three days ago she flew to Sudan by herself and is now in a hospital preparing to have her heart fixed. Merry Christmas


  1. AmAzing miracle! you guys are amazing! it's so touching it brings tears to my eyes. ...changing lives one at a time. Happy christmas.

  2. That is the best Christmas story ever. Thank you so much for telling us! You, your friend Beth and the Italian surgeons are wonderful. - Sarah C