In the last few years of team life, we have experienced several "all hands on deck" crises - such as the flash flood at the waterfall in 2016 and the failed coup d'état in 2015. These events definitely bring us together as a team in ways beyond what we experience through day-to-day life and work together. We regularly reference those intense bonding times and they go down in team history to be retold again and again. Well, we recently added another crisis to the team lore with our second medical evacuation (for the first one, read here.)
Similar to family life, each of us has team "roles" in addition to our hospital, school, and community work - tasks such as facilitating the weekly market order or the vehicle upkeep. One of my roles is to be team doctor. Usually that means handing out Zofran for stomach bugs, answering questions about malaria prophylaxis, or maybe putting steri-strips on a wound.
|Cleaning and steri-stripping a minor wound for Abi|
|Pre-op on left, post-op on right|
This is the moment when the team mobilized into high gear like a well oiled machine. We were few in number as most of the doctors were at the medical conference in Greece, but everyone remaining dropped everything and came running to do the work of many more people. These are the folks you want by your side in a crisis! As Cole's dad spent hours on the phone with the med-evac company, the Serge Kibuye team packed up all the suitcases for the family of 7, looked at flights and arranged guesthouses for the mom and other four children in Kenya, drove cars (including a makeshift ambulance for Cole, his dad, and me) to Bujumbura, made lunch and fed all the kids, facilitated quick goodbyes, texted our Kenya connections to receive the family in Nairobi, connected with Kenyan doctors/hospitals, and of course monitored and cared for Cole. He got worse with a medication reaction just before we got into the vehicles to head for Bujumbura but thankfully responded to a breathing treatment.
|Cole and his father flying to Nairobi|
|Driving right onto the runway in our "ambulance" with our special patient|
|Cole thanking the Kibuye kids for their Get Well cards. Even the kids prayed for Cole and cared for him!|