THIRSTY GROUND UPDATES

Critical Cases & Life-Saving Interventions – Medical Assistance Update – Summer 2023

In the midst of different projects and outreach efforts – including the ongoing Syrian quake relief – one of our most important ministries keeps going quietly in the background. From the very beginning of seeking to help refugees and locals out here, we’ve found that medical assistance is often the #1 requested need, and the primary door-opener to further opportunities to share with them the reason for the Hope that is within us!

We continue to provide necessary medications each week to numerous sick children, elderly and people on meds for chronic life-threatening conditions. As the cost of medications continues to rise locally due to various economic factors, we’ve sought as best we can to expand this help to those most in need.

Our TGI oxygen machine plugging away in a refugee’s home, providing her with out-of-hospital care

We also continue to help with surgical and emergency interventions. Our treatment protocol is to use our available funds for cases where life, limbs or eyesight are at imminent risk. This is similar to emergency protocols used by EMS in the States. That helps us weed out unnecessary – or at least non-emergency – needs, but despite that we are still overwhelmed with cases on a scheduling backlog several months long!

We appreciate the prayers and support over the years towards this vital community medical outreach and service. While it would probably be tedious to list all the hundreds of patients we’ve helped this past year, our medical assistance coordinator has written up case files on some of the most critical. I include them below so you can better know how to pray for this ministry!

Names and some details are excluded for privacy (as well as pictures in most cases), but we kept it as informative as possible to give a better sense of the life-and-death situations we sometimes have to deal with. These are just a handful of the dozens of serious cases our team tries to screen and handle.

Critical Medical Cases In Recent Months

A middle-aged local woman with advanced cancer: Hospitalized in November 2022 – She had very high creatinine levels and likely bacteria blocking off the JJ stent that opened from her kidney to her bladder to allow urine output which was previously cut off due to the cancer impacting her ureter. Her kidney function was very low at the time of hospital admission. At that time, a nephrestomy tube was inserted to improve her kidney function.

Hospitalized again at the end of January 2023 due to septic shock. Her nephrestomy tube was infected leading to sepsis. After the infection resolved, the nephrestomy tube was removed and her creatinine and kidney function improved.

Her final hospitalization was in March 2023 due to severe bacterial pneumonia. Her intestines also closed off from the cancer causing severe abdominal distention. She also suffered from ascites and an increase in the spread of her cancer in pelvic area. Unfortunately, these all contributed to her demise, and

An older refugee woman with chest pain: Had a coronary angiogram to see if she had heart blockages requiring a stent. The doctor suspected it due to shortness of breath and uncontrolled high blood pressure. Thankfully she didn’t have any heart blockages! All of her current cardiac and breathing issues are due to other treatable health factors we are trying to help her manage.

Middle-aged refugee man with chest pain: Had a coronary angiogram to see if he had heart blockages requiring a stent due to several symptoms indicating so. Thankfully he didn’t have any blocked arteries either. But we found he does have an electrical issue in his heart requiring medicine and yearly evaluation.

Young woman with chronic thalassemia: Every 3 weeks she has to have a unit of blood transfused due to her thalassemia breaking down her red blood cells. She would have died years ago without this monthly intervention that has allowed her to live a somewhat normal childhood. We are looking into having her relocated to a country where she can receive the definitive treatment she needs, which is a bone marrow transplant, but due to her age we are not finding any facilities willing to sponsor her case.

Middle-aged refugee woman with Splenic Lymphoma: She’s continued chemo/immunotherapy treatment with our help for the last year and half. She continued to receive maintenance transfusions of chemotherapy once every 8 weeks to prevent the reoccurrence of her splenic lymphoma. She was previously treated with immunotherapy and chemotherapy for her lymphoma for a year which thankfully lead to the resolution of her lymphoma, now we are praying it doesn’t come back!

Middle-aged refugee man with tumerous mass: Lipoma removal in October 2022. He suffered from a large non-cancerous lipoma tumor on his jawline that was surgically removed. While the ENT reassured us it wasn’t cancerous at the time, he warned us that if it was not removed, it had the potential of becoming cancerous later.

Young refugee woman with internal bleeding: In February 2023 a young refugee woman came to us with symptoms of internal bleeding. We found she suffered from a deceased ectopic pregnancy and a large uterine fibroid that caused severe anemia from the internal bleeding. She needed immediate surgical intervention in order to save her life and stop the bleeding. Thankfully we got her there in time.

Middle-aged refugee woman with severe hypertension: She presented with a blood pressure that was over 220/140 with symptoms of transient ischemic attacks, facial numbness, slurred speech, dizziness, and severe headaches. When we got her in the hospital they rushed her to the ICU to stabilize her. An MRI showed she had already suffered multiple small strokes due to the prolonged unresolved hypertension, leaving unknown long term damage in her brain. After many days in the ICU, they stabilized her blood pressure with a litany of medications, but could not find the underlying cause. She’s currently discharged at home, being monitored with follow up visits. She was very thankful to the church, as she knows she would have died soon without getting into the hospital for care.

Middle-aged refugee man with bone lesion: In January 2023 we helped a man suffering from a large bone lesion on the backside of his femur that caused severe pain. He was beginning to have difficulty even walking, much less working as the primary provider for his family. The orthopedic surgeon removed the lesion and inserted a permanent metal plate over the site of the excised lesion.

Elderly refugee woman with severe hypoxia: This is the same woman we helped in the hospital during COVID due to severe hypoxia – at the time her oxygen saturation was in the 70s! – and she’s continued to have respiratory issues since. This December 2022, due to low blood oxygen caused by COPD and viral pneumonia, we had to take her to the ER. Her oxygen saturation was down in the 70s again, and her lips were actually turning blue from hypoxia. She showed significant improvement in the hospital after the pneumonia was treated. She continues to be treated at home using an oxygen machine and Bipap. We had to provide her our organization’s oxygen condenser machine as well as a generator to run it due to the lack of reliable/regular electricity in this country. Just one more challenge to overcome!

Pray For Upcoming Needs!

These are just a few of the urgent cases we’ve tried to help with this past winter and early spring. The list could go on! We are thankful for the open doors to help. We already have several new cases in the queue, including a runaway fibrous tumor entangling the jugular vein of a middle-aged man, several cases of impending blindness from cataracts, a young girl who lost her leg to cancer, and more.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. This is a work bigger than any of us, but not bigger then God or His church! 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.

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