Mbingo Baptist Hospital: view from Mbingo Hill

Friday, August 10, 2012


The past few weeks have been full of mountaintops and valleys, and have truly highlighted the ups and downs of medicine and life. Lindsay and Cathen flew back the United States to attend Rory's wedding, which provided an awesome opportunity for them to see family and celebrate. Of course, being here alone without my two ladies has been difficult.

We had an incredible recovery of a young boy who had aspirated a groundnut (peanut), and a teenage girl who presented with a massive anterior mediastinal mass and SVC syndrome is responding to her chemotherapy (and we were able to make an "official" histologic diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma by sending pathology slides to Dr. Bardin to review while he is on vacation in the US). These were tremendous highs.

Those successes have been tempered by the busiest week of our 6 months here in Cameroon - while the hospital is short-staffed (we are currently missing 6 of our 10 expatriate physicians), and feeling helpless as patient after patient gets admitted to the ward and we are unable to diagnose or treat the problems. We have had more deaths in the past week than in the past two to three months combined.

The constant swing of emotions begins to take its toll, and the last couple days have been difficult. However, I was greatly encouraged last night as we were reading in Luke chapter 9 at our weekly Bible Study. After being sent out on a mission to heal the sick, the disciples return and Jesus takes them off to a desolate place to rest and recover. Rather than rest, however, they are swarmed by the masses. Jesus' response was that he "had compassion" on the crowd and "healed their sick" (Mt. 14:14). The disciples ask Jesus to send the people away to go and find food, thinking logically and knowing that they were unable to provide for them. Jesus instead replies - "You give them something to eat" (Luke 9:13). The feeding of the 5,000 ensues and what appeared a disastrous scenario turns into something miraculous.

The last week has beaten me down and I have felt unable to provide for the barrage of patients. However, even when the disciples knew their inability to meet the needs of the crowd, Jesus provided. He had called them there, and He would not let them flounder. Likewise, we've been called here for a purpose, and although I often cannot provide for my patient's various needs, God can.

Thank you for your prayers and support, for encouraging me, and for joining us as we try to bring healing to the sick.

Here are some photos that we took shortly before the girls left town:

Cathen & Gracia
(Gracia is Dr. Francine's daughter)

My Two Ladies

Marching Ants

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