After serving in Cameroon, West Africa for 1 year and 9 months, we are happy to report that things are going well. My goal (Rick) was to establish a pathology service and to assist with the training of Internal Medicine residents in the Christian Internal Medicine Specialization program at Mbingo Baptist Hospital.
Debbie (my wife) was excited to find a place where she could serve as one of two nurses in the HIV Care and Treatment Center. This gives her the opportunity to minister to both the physical and spiritual needs of the patient.
Shortly after arriving we met a 7 year-old girl named Joy (not her real name). Joy had been seen in the hospital in 2008. At that time she had an abdominal mass which caused her pain. Her symptoms pointed toward Burkitt lymphoma, a common illness here in that age group. Should they treat her for lymphoma or do surgery? If she had lymphoma, recovery from surgery could be complicated.
The clinical team decided to treat her for lymphoma. After the first chemo treatment, the mass seemed to shrink slightly. She struggled through an entire six courses series of treatments.
In 2010, her mother brought her back to the hospital with the same problem—abdominal pain and a mass. Because we were now providing cytology services through doing fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNAB) and interpreting various body fluid specimens, we were able to use this procedure on the young girl to determine that she did not have lymphoma.
She was taken to the OR where a resection of the mass and involved intestine was done. Though the tumor could spread within the abdomen, it was determined to be benign. She recovered from surgery and returned to school and play. She has been back three times for check-ups with no evidence of recurrence. If this procedure had been available in 2008, perhaps we could have saved her from undergoing chemotherapy.
Richard Bardin, MD
Many mission hospitals struggle with minimal resources and out-dated equipment. In order to help them serve God to the best of their ability, we are praying that individuals would give to help the Bardins update their computers, microscope, and various other equipment. Starting July 2012, the SWMC Foundation has agreed to match each dollar given toward their need, up to $6,000. This means that we only have to raise HALF of the total need of $12,000, because each dollar will be doubled.
If you would like to help the Bardins update their equipment so they can provide better medical care to their patents in West Africa, please click here and print the response card, make your check out to the SWMC Foundation, and send it to the address below:
Southwestern Medical Clinic Foundation
2550 Meadowbrook Road
Benton Harbor, MI 49022