10th May 2019
By Dr. Maria, an FP-OB who served at our Emergency Field Hospital.
It was my first night in Buzi, Mozambique, and the radio buzzed for an emergency C-section. The patient, Eliza, was bleeding and her baby was in distress. In a whirlwind, the baby boy was delivered and being resuscitated by our nursery nurse and anaesthesia team.
Eliza was not out of the woods, however. The placental abruption (when the placenta tears away from the uterus prior to delivery) had caused her to lose substantial, life-threatening amounts of blood. We worked rapidly to control bleeding and complete her operation, but Eliza’s blood pressure plummeted.
Her heart rate dropped and Eliza’s nurse began pushing ephedrine. Again, again, again. She calmly rechecked vitals. Still bad. Again, Eliza’s nurse never batted an eye and provided the medications and IV fluids she needed to stay alive until the surgeon could scrub out and donate a unit of blood to stabilise her own patient.
While I finished closing Eliza’s abdomen, I prepared myself to help carry both her and the baby out in body bags. Things were so bad, there was just no way.
As I battled this fear, the team soaked us in continuous prayer. God shook me with His abundant mercy and allowed a miracle.
Finally, Eliza seemed stable.
My gaze then shifted to her newborn son.
“Breath, two, three. Breath, two, three.” That was his team also providing resuscitation. I tried to think of how I’d tell Eliza that he wasn’t yet breathing on his own. But at 59 minutes, the tiny baby cried and held his own, weaning off oxygen hours later.
A few days after surgery, Eliza desperately needed another transfusion. In Buzi there is not a blood bank and patients depend on matched family members or donors to provide blood. She confidently stated her husband was coming and she would be able to have blood.
However, as he didn’t show, I had to discuss the possibility of sending Eliza to Beira, the next big city with a blood bank. Tears streamed silently down her face. So many questions with no answers. I tried to reassure her and sent out a request. Finally, that afternoon a match had agreed to donate.
Again, with tears and fear, she explained she couldn’t pay. These turned to grateful tears as Eliza was informed that the blood was from a donor who wanted nothing in return but just to bless her.
Eliza still has a long, hard journey with three children and a new baby that will need extra care to survive.
But Eliza’s condition is improving and she is stronger. She is incredibly resilient and such a trademark for the warmth and tenacity the people in her country exude.
Eliza was loved here, shown compassion, and blessed by God through His people.
Since our Emergency Field Hospital began operations on 4th April, Samaritan’s Purse medical staff have delivered 54 healthy babies—15 via emergency C-section—and treated nearly 6,000 patients (combined total for both hospital and mobile clinic) for diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, and lacerations inflicted during Cyclone Idai. We praise God for His healing hand in this work!
The hospital is expected to be handed over to local officials on 10th May and will continue to provide medical care to families in Mozambique. Please pray for our teams on the ground as they make this transition and return from the field.
Learn more about how Samaritan’s Purse is caring for mothers and babies in different countries around the world.