Spring is finally here and the worst of the winter weather is behind us, or at least we hope so! With spring’s arrival, we also had the arrival of a very experienced field dentist, Dr. Jack from GDM Ministries.
He spent most of last week with our group of mountain refugees giving them some much-needed dental care. He saw 54 patients and estimates that he probably pulled almost 150 teeth! It was a very busy week.
Dental hygiene is, unfortunately, not a strongly emphasized aspect of rural Syrian culture. Many people have little idea of the necessity to brush their teeth daily – or even at all, if you can imagine!
Thus, the degree of tooth decay is incredible and the pain they suffer from it often unbearable. The health effects of poor dental hygiene and tooth infections make these especially vulnerable refugees all the more prone to associated diseases from it.
We were very thankful Dr. Jack gave his time this last week to help these refugees with their fundamental dental problems. The refugees were appreciative as well, with many of them lining up from the morning and waiting until afternoon, or even coming back the next day, just to get seen.
New Medical Issues
We had a huge amount of sick refugees come to us this past week. The final big storm that pushed through here exacerbated the already weakened immune systems of many children. Their homes are often cold and damp, and crowded with other people who easily spread respiratory infections.
We had many kids with very diffuse congestion in their lungs, and oxygen saturations in the low 90s or even upper 80s, likely with a form of pneumonia secondary to the flu that had been going around in recent weeks.
Thankfully the Lord provided ample resources to meet the need of the 70-80 sick refugees we got medicine for this past weekend, and most of them are recovering well!
Ongoing Medical Issues
The women with stage 4 cancer may now be in her last days. She recently was admitted to the hospital because she was throwing up blood. The doctors discovered her liver is beginning to fail, and she has pneumonia. Also her cancer has now spread to her thyroid. The tumor on her thyroid is so large, it is making it very difficult to swallow medicine or eat.
Please pray that God would comfort her heart through knowing Christ in her last days. We were able to visit with her this week after she was discharged from the hospital. She is a lot weaker than usual, barely able to hold her head up. Her loved ones are very supportive. Pray for them as well as they go through this difficult time with her. Currently, she is readmitted to the hospital receiving IV treatment and to discuss palliative care options with her family.
Continue praying for the teenaged girl with thalessemia. We know the name of the genetic test she needs for the UN and are trying to get her doctor’s order for the test so she can have this test completed in submitted to the UN. She was also very sick recently with a respiratory illness that is going around, but is recovering. She was also so anemic she needed to get another blood transfusion this past week. Please pray for her to recover from her illness as well as to be relocated sooner rather than later by the UN to get the bone marrow transplant she needs.
The middle-aged man with large leg veins will have his pre-surgery ultrasound on his veins this week. As a correction to the last post, the width of the veins is 30mm and not 30cm, but are still the largest the doctor here has ever seen in his years of practice. We are still working through logistic and payment issues for scheduling his surgery, and trying to find the best hospital for him to receive this vital treatment at.
It seems the Syrian man with aplastic anemia has very few options for the treatment of his condition in this part of the world. We recently saw the hematology/oncology doctor and he only gave us two options. Either a bone marrow transplant (which costs upwards of 150K in this country!) or an immunosuppressive drug therapy which costs thousands of dollars a month and that may not even provide a definitive cure. Pray that this man is able to get the treatment he needs, although we doubt we will be able to provide it for him ourselves. He will most likely need to travel abroad via the UN, or plead for help back in the slowly-rebuilding hospitals of his home country in Syria where he could get treated for a reduced cost – though the treatment may not be of a good enough quality to truly save him. This man, being a refugee and with only these two options unattainable options, has essentially received a death sentence. Pray he might know the Lord, or that a door may miraculously open to help him some other way!
Thank You For Praying
As always, thank you for taking the time to read these refugee relief updates. Thanks to those who commit to pray for these refugees or are moved to support as they are able to!
If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.