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HOME > 선교지소식 > 선교사이야기
 
작성일 : 06-10-30 02:25
VaoVao Dokotera Lee [1]
 글쓴이 : 그리심
조회 : 5,313  
Vaovao Dokotera Lee

So what's with the title? Well, I wanted to start a newsletter outlining some of my medical adventures/misadventures in Madagascar. After my last prayer letter I had some encouraging feedback requesting that I send the medical news coming from real working place. This is my response to that request and the title means “Doctor Lee's newsletter” in Malagasy.
Until last end of July, I had not much opportunity to meet Malagasy patients because we had been focusing on the language learning. But I had a chance to visit an orphanage, some poor villages and a Saturday school for street children and the poor. This experience was somewhat intimidating. I have been quoting a phrase frequently these days "God will not give me more than I can bear.” Maybe it is because of some inner doubt, that I keep repeating this. How I can help these people who would just bear their pain, wounds, illness because they do not have money even for the fare to go to Doctor. As a Doctor I am not fighting with disease but with poverty. However, once again, His grace has been sufficient to help me overcome my doubt I faced this so far.

Several weeks ago our mobile medical team arrived at a small village in rural area. There was a boy about 10 on whose left leg there was severe infection. He could not walk because of pain. Someone wrapped on it with a piece of cloth that was very dirty and smelly. The infection was spread on his whole foot. ‘How come his parents left him in this condition’, ‘why they did not go to the doctor?’ But soon I realized the reasons. Even if they go to the nearest doctor, they have to walk several kilometres to get a bus and they have to pay for the fare and after that they have to buy some drugs, gauzes, some solutions for the treatments and then they have to come back in the same way. So they were waiting until they could get enough money that seemed almost impossible for them without any help of others. During their hesitation, the wound was getting worse.
After treatment, I thought he needs to change the wound dressing at least once a day. But it is another impossible thing for them. So our team prayed for him.
Next week we decided to visit the boy again. On the way, I worried so much that the wound might be worse. He never changed his wound dressing which I had done before. However it was miracle, we saw him walking to us. We realized that it is not doctor but God who heals the patients. Yes, it is really true.

I started to work at Itaosy hospital. In my first week, I was surprised to discover how short of supplies of the hospital. Before the operation, the patients or the carer should buy all surgical materials. During the operation, doctor should squeeze the blood out from the lamba (a kind of surgical clothes) to use it again. If the carer could not provide enough fluid, the patients should endure all the abnormality. First of all, sometimes doctor have to skip some essential diagnostic test before the surgery because of money problem. There are no support of radiologist and pathologist. There is no way of liver function test and blood gas analysis at the hospital. If they want to do, they have to spend one month wages for only once of liver function test. Even the blood cell count is not reliable. However even in these terrible situations, God helps the patients be healed.

One day a 14 years old girl came to hospital with the symptoms of appendicitis. I was preparing to do operation as I had done in Korea, but another doctor sent her back home to prepare money. Next early morning she came back to the hospital with her mother, but her mother could not prepare enough money for surgery. She asked us to do operation and she said she would pay until the end of the month. But it was not allowed. So they had to go back home again with some antibiotics. I hoped that my diagnosis would be wrong so she would be fine with some antibiotics. In Korea appendectomy are performed 99% for the acute appendicitis but in this hospital the most cases of appendectomy are for the chronic appendicitis.

Anyway I have been learning to do operation with very small amount of material and sometimes I have to ignore the surgical aseptic principles which seem not to exist here.
The biggest problem is to make diagnosis. History taking and physical examination is the most important and almost only way of diagnosis. Interestingly, I have observed my colleagues spending a mere 3-4 minutes with each patient during our outpatient consultations and jumping up to the diagnosis. I find it very difficult to do an adequate job in this amount of time- especially with the sensitive nature of the problems and the language barriers. However, as I try to take a little longer to build rapport, show compassion, and counsel the patients, I became a something to see from my colleagues
I have come to realize that medical ministry in Africa is a lot like trying to eat an elephant. At first glance it is overwhelming, but you try to take it one bite at a time. Some days it just doesn’t sit well in your stomach and you just want to quit eating altogether. Other days you get a little choked up, but keep chewing away. And then, there are the days where you feel, ‘hey, I’m actually making some progress here’. Those are the days that keep you going.
Thanks for your interest in my eating disorder,


Dokotera Lee
(who is still hungry for more)