Thursday, June 2, 2011

Clinic and CPR

Today started like most Thursdays. Arrived to our clinic location to a full house. Gave a devotional on, "What if God says No" - in answer to prayer. I really enjoyed the devotional and was excited to share it with those who were waiting. It was a loud day - lots of crying / mad / screaming children - controlled chaos, that kind of thing. About 4 hours into the clinic, one of our scholarship kids - Carlos - came running into the clinic. I couldn't understand a single thing he was saying he was talking so fast. The only thing I really got out of his rambling was "abuelo" and "problema" - okay - so his grandfather was having a problem. But the anguish in his eyes is what eventually got me moving. I grabbed my stethoscope and BP cuff and ran to his house which is right near our clinic area. I came upon his grandfather - Santos Ruben Alvarado - in a bad situation. Best I could guess, he had a massive stroke. After a quick assessment, a quick set of vital signs, I put him on a portable pulse ox that I have - (for you non-medical people - it checks the oxygenation in your blood stream) - he was reading at about 65% (92% is "normal"). His eyes started to roll, he was becoming non-responsive. I told the family he needed to go to the hospital NOW or he was going to die. That at least got them thinking - but now the logistics of that. No taxi's come out to our area - no ambulances are even available for the public to use - only private ambulances exist in La Ceiba. I kept looking back and forth for someone to make a decision and finally knew I was going to have to take charge and I called Mike. He was at the airport picking up our boss who came in for a three-day conference. He arrived within a few minutes. I ran back to the clinic area to grab my "emergency" bag (face mask, a few emergency meds, IV start kit, etc). By the time I got back he had collapsed in the chair he was sitting in. I picked him up and put him on the floor. Started CPR. After a few roundsof CPR I knew this was bad. I asked to the room, "does anyone else know CPR?" - my dear husband (after a quick deep breath) jumped in to help. We worked on him for about 30 minutes. I attempted to start an IV - no go. Finally, after 30 minutes, I just looked at Mike, held his hands to stop compressions, and "pronounced" our friend. There were many people around which gave us opportunity to pray with the family and put him in a comfortable position, quietly gather our belongings...we left. When I started CPR, I already knew the likelihood of success - little to none. I knew there would be no on there to "rescue" me (i.e. paramedic to get him to the hospital). I have had an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) on my wish list for over 3 years. Anyone who asks, I always send this list out - it includes meds, supplies, and equipment. But I know the reality - the reality is it's a$1300 piece of equipment! I'll probably only ever end up using it a few times - so I've always pushed for the things I knew I would use a lot - pulse ox, bandage supplies, medicine, etc. But, this time, maybe...(and that's a big maybe) it may have saved a life. So - looks like I'll be pushing for that AED a little harder!

Santos is pictured here on the far right.


Carlos, our scholarship kid, has been through so much in his young life. Abandoned by his family, and taken in by his grandparents. He now has lost one of them. His grandfather was a believer - so he is rejoicing and standing in the presence of our Lord. But Carlos is still here, and his heart mourns for the person he sees as father. One of the crazy things about all this - this family is one of the families that was chosen to have part of their house re-built by our short-term teams. So they will have love and blessings poured on them from teams that are coming.

3 comments:

Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary said...

I love you, Erin! You AMAZE me...

Thanks for sharing this story. I hope you get that AED, my friend.

Orangehouse said...

I don't even know what to say. I'm so sorry for you, and Carlos and his family, and this whole broken world.

Here is my prayer for the Pettengills from Isaiah 61:

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD, for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."

Cindy in California said...

I'm sorry for the loved ones that Santos left behind, especially little Carlos. I'm glad no one is concerned about where he is spending eternity...what a HUGE blessing!

Thank you for being there to try to save his earthly live. May God bless and comfort everyone affected by Santo's death.