I am not sure where you were New Year’s Eve, but I know where I was! I was headed for bed about 10:30 p.m. after determining that I was too tired to stay up for the midnight celebrations. I did not make it that far before I was called to perform a Caesarian Section to deliver a baby that had been transferred to us from another hospital approximately 50 miles away; their doctor was at a New Year’s party.
Getting home at 11:30 I decided to stay up for the New Year’s Celebration but went to bed shortly thereafter. At 12:30 a.m. I was awakened by an ambulance arriving from a different hospital--30 miles away. Their doctor had also been out celebrating while a nurse had attempted to deliver a baby. The baby was delivered safely, but the placenta came out only in pieces. The mother, Anna (not her real name), was bleeding heavily.
A second patient, named Mary (not her real name), also had a problem, but her bleeding had stopped. Taking the first patient to surgery, I performed an emergency procedure and found lots of clots but couldn't remove any more of the placenta. Packing the area well, I then noted that her blood pressure was falling despite massive IV's. The hospital was out of her blood type, so I allowed them to take a unit of my blood in order to save her life. Her blood pressure stabilized and we transferred her to ICU.
I then returned to Mary and attempted an ultrasound scan to determine the position of the uterus. The results were inconclusive because of the poor quality of the equipment. She was stable so I sent her to the maternity ward and went to bed.
At 3 a.m. another transfer rolls in with severe fetus distress and I am summoned to perform another emergency C-section. I crawled back into bed at 4:30 to no avail. By five o’clock, Mary, the mother who had the inconclusive ultrasound, was now bleeding heavily. When attempting to place the spinal, the anesthetist noticed that the patient had passed out and that her blood pressure was too low for blood to get to the brain or perfuse the placenta. The baby had minutes to live.
We put Mary flat on the bed, gave her a quick dose of an IV sedative, and delivered a live baby in 30 seconds (a miracle)! There was no bleeding. I felt as if I were operating on a corpse. However, after more fluid and one unit of blood, Mary woke up and stabilized (another miracle)! Exhausted, I returned to bed around 6:30 a.m. on the first day of 2012.
At 7:30 I crawled out of bed and returned to the hospital to check on Anna. Although I had been told she was stable, I found her lying in blood-soaked sheets. Her blood pressure had dropped extremely low. My wife came immediately and gave a unit of blood, but Anna’s pressure was still too low to operate. I called my father; and he, too, volunteered a unit. After this we proceeded to the operating room and performed an emergency hysterectomy.
Today these two ladies and their babies are alive and doing well. Would a good ultrasound scan have helped -- you can be sure of it! Was God in control? Without a doubt! Were it not for His grace, two of these ladies and at least one of the babies would not be with us today. So… what’s so HAPPY about the NEW YEAR? God is in control and provides just what we need in our times of distress.
DAN STEPHENS ~ SWMC Missionary MD to Zimbabwe