Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back Home!

We are back in North Carolina! On January 25th we made the trip from Mbingo to Bamenda to Douala to Brussels to Washington DC, and finally to Charlotte, NC. Given weather delays along the way, the trip took about 42 hours in total, but Cathen was a super-traveler and made the trip with no difficulty at all (although she did use the potty six times while on the airplanes).

We are settling down in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Lindsay’s parents, and are greatly enjoying the time to reconnect with family and friends, and for Cathen to spend good time with her extended family. She loves seeing her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that live nearby (Matt & Laura and the crew – Caroline, Joe, Sophia, and Collin – now live in Charlotte as well), although she often talks about her Mbingo family.

Our time at Mbingo was an incredible blessing, and we thank God for the family and friends that we have developed there. We are truly blessed to have wonderful families both here in the US and back in Cameroon. The work opportunities we were afforded at Mbingo were tremendous, and we hope to be able to continue that pediatric work, even while at home in the States. I am also hopeful that as a Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) fellow at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), I might even return to Mbingo during the next three years.

Thank you all for your support while we were away working at Mbingo. We love you all, and we are excited to have the opportunity to meet with you over the coming months. We are indebted to you for your prayerful support of the work that is going on at Mbingo, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for us next.


JR, Lindsay, and Cathen

Prayer Points
  • New job for Lindsay
  • Pediatric volunteers to work at MBH while awaiting long-term Pediatrician (hopefully to arrive within 1 year)
  • Transition back to life in the US: cultural changes, adapting to a faster-paced lifestyle, learning how to parent Cathen, etc.
  • Finding a church home in Charlotte

Some of Our Family from Mbingo: a snapshot of why leaving is so hard...

Lindsay and Judith (Palliative Care Nurse)
The C-Ward Team
Genevieve (Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse)
C-Ward staff after Christmas party for the children on the ward
Pool time with Isaac in the backyard
"Quick! No one's looking!!!"
"We're just hanging out..."
The three kids posing for a portrait
Thank goodness the portrait is over!
Sunday nigh Praise & Worship (JR, Keith, Chuck, and Dennis)
Rick (Poppie) & Debbie (Nonnie) Bardin and Cathen
Kaye & Keith Streatfeild with Cathen
JR, Lindsay, Cathen, and Nancy & Dennis Palmer
Our Duplex Crew: JR, Lindsay & Cathen Young, and Angela, Chuck, Isaac & Benjamin Barrier
Lindsay & JR in formal wear designed and given to us by the CIMS training program  members
Good-byes at the hospital entrance with many of the administrators and department heads:
Dr. Acha (ENT), Joce Kangong (Assistant Administrator of Finance),
Lindsay, Cathen, JR, Victorine Gabe (Assistant Administrator of Personnel),
Ephesians Nfor (Head Chaplain), Dr. Marvis (Ophthalmology)
Cathen & Benjamin

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Collaboration & Gratitude

We continue to be humbled by the patients that present to our hospital. As our time at Mbingo continues, it sometimes seems that the cases get more and more challenging. Granted, we see our fair share of typical malaria, pneumonia, viral upper respiratory infections, and thankfully, well-babies too; but we also see incredible pathology, not only secondary to late presentations, but disease processes that most people would only read about in a textbook, and not actually try to manage in person! These cases are intensely challenging, and although MBH is a good hospital, we are limited in both diagnostic capabilities and at times treatment modalities. However, we are incredibly blessed to have friends both here and back home who partner with us to help us provide the best care we can for these children and their families. These are just a few examples.

  • 6-yo boy with disseminated staphylococcus (source point: left septic hip) leading to tension pneumatoceles requiring emergent chest tubes. These pneumatoceles developed rapidly over 9 days, completely compressing the right lung to where he had no air entry on the right side of his chest and his heart was beginning to be compressed as well. We are blessed to have incredibly skilled surgeons here at MBH as well as a pediatric anesthesiologist who were willing to take this child to the OR and perform life-saving surgery. He is still quite sick, but he has gone from saturating 75% on room air and breathing 70 times per minute using only one functional lung to being stable on room air and getting almost normal oxygenation and ventilation from both lungs.
 Series of 3 chest X-rays over the course of 1 week

  • 13 year old boy presented with a vasculitis (SLE, Wegener’s, Goodpasture’s, pauci-immune vasculitis, etc.) – acute renal insufficiency, hemoptysis, hematuria, etc. We have been able to send serum back to the US to have specialized labs performed free of charge so that we might make a true diagnosis and treat this child, who otherwise would die without ever knowing the cause of his illness. We are thankful to the volunteers who took his serum samples back to the US, the lab that has run his studies, and the countless friends we have consulted to help guide us in his management.
  • Young couple with one living child and 15 other failed pregnancies – numerous spontaneous abortions and three perinatal deaths. Again, a lab in the United States was willing to run blood samples from mother, father, and the baby to perform a thorough work-up evaluating for a hemolytic disease process that might have been leading to the fetal demise. Thankfully, the newest baby has survived, and we are all so incredibly grateful to the lab staff who performed the needed studies and to the volunteers who hand-carried the serum back for proper evaluation.
These are just a handful of the numerous cases that require true teamwork and collaboration to provide care for the children. These are not bread & butter pediatrics, but they are the patients that show up on our ward on a daily basis. We are unable to make sure diagnoses and to appropriately treat many patients without additional help and support. We are indebted to our friends and colleagues around the world who have made a commitment to helping these children and families.

Thank you, and God Bless!

JR, Lindsay, and Cathen

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Is Here

Christmas is here, and although we are far from family, the weather is 70 degrees, and the celebration of Christmas is somewhat different here, it is finally beginning to feel like Christmas. We greatly miss our family’s Christmas traditions and the beautiful Christmas Eve candlelight service, but we are realizing that there are many advantages to being apart from the hustle and bustle of the western Christmas season. We have been able to really focus on the meaning of Christmas and to begin to teach Cathen this greatest gift – Jesus Christ – and celebrate this gift with our Cameroonian and missionary family. This year our celebration began with a Christmas party on Children’s Ward. Together with the Cameroonian staff, we prepared songs, gifts, and food for the children and families admitted on the ward. Then on Christmas Eve, we joined the other missionary doctors in caroling through the hospital wards. Though the ideas of “peace on earth” and “joy to the world” are all too easily lost amidst suffering and sickness, there remains the glimmer of hope in people’s eyes, and we greatly enjoyed singing and sharing these timeless messages of hope and joy. 

As part of this season, we wanted to share with you the love that one of our dear friends has shown the children of Cameroon. You will see in many of the pictures below, beautiful fleece blankets. A wonderful woman, Peggy Payne ("Gigi"), who lives in Charlotte, NC, has lovingly made these blankets for the children here at Mbingo Baptist Hospital. Gigi is not only a wonderful grandmother to her granddaughters, Christina and Kelly - now all grown-up and married - she is a grandmother to the children who have come to our hospital. For the last year she has spent countless hours making blankets for these little ones. With each blanket she is sharing love with a newborn, a sick or malnourished child, or even a mother and father grieving the loss of their child. This Christmas, we want to say thank you to Gigi, for her precious contribution to caring for and loving the children at Mbingo Hospital.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers
and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:40

Merry Christmas to you all! May God bless you richly this Christmas season and may you be ambassadors for Christ as you share His love with those around you.

Much love,

Lindsay, JR, and Cathen

Gigi's "grandkids" and their blankets

 The Children's Ward Christmas Party