Bring the doctor to the patient in Madagascar

Bring the doctor to the patient in Madagascar

In April 2016, MAF organised for a medical team to be flown to a patient called Melanie in a critical condition. She returned to the hospital in September 2017 to say thank you. Story by Pilot Josh Plett

'Melanie is a strong woman and our God is almighty' Pilot Josh Plett wrote last year, after witnessing first-hand the young mothers difficult and heartbreaking experience of giving birth.

'Melanie was pregnant but sadly her child did not make it to full term - Josh explained, 'something very common for women in the developing world. The danger though, came when she was not able to give birth'.

Urgent need - 18th April 2016 

Melanie was already very weak when we received a call on Monday evening from a remote town. We were told that a woman had arrived and her baby had died in the womb more than three days ago. Realising that without immediate intervention there would be no hope for Melanie, MAF began to organise a medevac right away.

This in itself is not straightforward. It starts with trying to find a doctor to accompany the aircraft, then arranging a medical team who will make sure she's taken care of including paying for all the medical bills. This all needed to be done that evening so they could leave at sunrise to fetch the patient. 

"I marvel at what I am privileged to witness, the people I get to work alongside, and the miracles God does with the gifts He has given us!" Pilot Josh Plett 

The first doctor that came to my mind was Jonathan Lee, a Korean doctor/friend who has done work with us and frequently flies with us on medical outreaches. When I explained the situation he dropped what he had planned, and organised his team. I mentioned where we would be fetching the patient and he questioned, "why doesn't MAF bring the team there and do the surgery right in her town?"

Madagascar has many well-constructed clinics around the island, they are just not staffed. Soalala was one such place. A beautifully built and equipped operating room with no surgeon. Soalala happened to be a village that Dr Lee frequently visits with our medical outreach programs so he was already familiar with the set up.

Surgical equipment

That evening I prepared the flight while he prepared all that would be needed to do the surgery.

Flying to help - 19th April 2016 

At 6am we took off. 

One hour and thirty minutes later we were on our way to the hospital where Melanie was waiting. Within an hour after landing she was in surgery. If she had been taken to the capital it is unlikely that she would have had surgery until evening and she may very well have not survived the flight.

Melanie in surgery with FBDB surgeon Dr Lee and team

After a difficult two and a half hour surgery, involving a hysterectomy, Melanie was in recovery. It was a very complicated case. The surgeon Dr Fernand explained that now the hard part begins as her body fights off the impending infection if she is to survive.

6 days post-surgery - 25th April 2016 

God is so good! 6 days after the flight, I received an update from Dr Fernand, that Melanie had been released and is on her way back to her village. The surgeon mentioned that due to the difficulties involved she only had about 20% chance of surviving her ordeal. I marvel at what I am privileged to witness, the people I get to work alongside, and witnessing the miracles God does with the gifts He has given us!

"Why doesn't MAF bring the team there and do the surgery right in her town?"  Dr Jonathan Lee

A year later - 22nd September 2017

The MAF Madagascar team recently received an email from the FBDB (Fiainana Be Dia Be) team who performed Melanie's operation in April 2016:

'Dear friends, I would like to send you a photo of a patient. She underwent an operation last year at the district hospital with the cooperation of MAF. During delivery her uterus was ruptured and the baby died and the patient was going to die [...] Even her condition was not fit to medical evacuation. 

So MAF brought us, FDBD, to Soalala and we did the operation. The result was good and the patient was saved. 

Today the patient came to us to say thank you. Without MAF it would not be happened.'

Thanks to you... 

The flight bringing help to Melanie only happened because the generous support of people in the UK and across the world - who pray and give to our ministry - so thank you from Melanie and from MAF!