Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oumar Dolo: A new reality.

A patient story I recently wrote....

The average 25-year-old has never thought about dying from a dental infection, but that was almost Oumar Dolo’s reality.

Oumar Dolo, 25, lives in Benin. For two weeks, he had been experiencing pain in his tooth. On a Monday morning, he came to the Mercy Ships Dental Clinic for a free examination. “I was feeling a lot of pain when I went to the dental clinic. I wasn’t scared, because I thought I just had a small problem with my tooth,” said Oumar. He was diagnosed with a tooth abscess, the tooth was extracted, and he went home.

But on Wednesday his mother, Momoun, brought him back to the dental clinic. Oumar had developed Ludwig’s Angina, a bacterial infection of the mouth which can develop after a tooth abscess. In just two days, his face had become distorted from prominent swelling and deposits of puss. The swelling was occluding his airway; he was losing his ability to breath.

Momoun felt scared and helpless. She realized the life of her son was in eminent danger. “I was really scared when Oumar had the infection. I thought my son was going to die,” she said.

Realizing Oumar would die if no intervention was taken, Dental Team coordinator, Jessica Campbell, contacted the hospital staff on board the Africa Mercy.

“When I came to work, I was told one of our patients had returned. When I saw Oumar, I knew he needed help,” said Cambell.

That same morning Oumar was transported to the Africa Mercy, where he received an emergent surgical irrigation and drainage of his face. After surgery, he was transported to the Africa Mercy Intensive Care Unit. The infection was affecting his entire body.
For several days, he remained critically ill. His mother remained by his side, praying God would heal him.

“Although I was scared, I believe in God and I was sure everything would be okay. I knew there were a lot of people praying for him,” said Momoun.

Oumar spent several days in Intensive Care, requiring 24-hour nursing care, artificial ventilation, and large doses of antibiotics.

“They placed three drains in his face and kept the breathing tube in for over a week because of the swelling. It was a life or death situation,” said Intensive Care Unit nurse Cassidy Phillips.

Finally, after more than a week in Intensive Care, Oumar’s condition stabilized and he was transported to the ward. A week later, he walked away from the Africa Mercy completely healthy.

Without Mercy Ships, death at 25 would have been Oumar’s reality. But today, Oumar is alive, healthy, and has a hopeful future. Mercy Ships gave him a new reality.

“I am really happy that Mercy Ships was here to help me. The Lord has done a great miracle for me,” said Oumar.

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