The Lives They Saved

Earlier this year, Holt organized a medical campaign to the Shinshicho/Durame region of Ethiopia. Six American physicians — several of them Holt adoptive parents — volunteered a week of their time and resources to treat patients in this rural, impoverished area of the country. Over the week, they saved several lives. Some in truly extraordinary ways.

by Robin Munro, Senior Writer

Earlier this year, six American doctors traveled to southern Ethiopia as part of a medical team trip organized by Holt. They visited two healthcare facilities – a small health clinic in Shinshicho, and a hospital in neighboring Durame. Here, they were joined by two Ethiopian doctors who traveled from the city to help treat patients in this rural, impoverished region of the country.

Over the week-long campaign, they saw conditions rarely seen in the U.S. Goiters caused by iodine deficiency. A 3-year-old with legs paralyzed by polio. Malaria. Advanced wounds. And patient after patient with prolapsed uteruses and bladders – a consequence of constant physical labor, poor nutrition and long hard childbirths, often at a very young age.

They also met children that tugged at their hearts with soulful eyes and failing hearts or lungs. Some they had to turn away, unable to help them. Their conditions were too serious, the hospital’s resources too few.

But several lives, they did save. In one little one’s case, all it took was a little ingenuity, and an empty plastic water bottle.

A newborn baby Dr. Bannister helped to resuscitate. Basic resuscitation is one area in which the local staff could benefit from additional training.

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