Josephine’s miraculous rescue


Josephine’s parents were scared. Their two-year-old had inhaled something that seriously affected her breathing. David and Judith could hear the rattle with every struggling breath. They rushed Josephine to a local clinic which sent them to an emergency hospital . . . which sent them to a government hospital . . . which sent them to a satellite clinic . . . which sent them back to the government hospital.

After five days there, doctors told them their little girl was too tiny to survive an operation. They needed a pediatric anesthetist, special equipment and critical care unit with 24-hour  - all unavailable at this hospital in Sierra Leone.

Desperate, they rushed Josephine to the Minister of Health’s office to plead their case. At that moment - in the miracle of timing - Mercy Ships board member Ann Gloag „happened“ to be in a meeting with the Minister.

Ann heard the little girl’s laboured breathing and called Dr. Gary Parker, Chief Medical Officer onboard the Africa Mercy docked in Freetown. She arranged for an ambulance to take Josephine, her parents and Dr. Kabineh, the Sierra Leonean doctor, to the ship.

Dr. Gary discovered a small stone lodged in her bronchus and worked with Dr. Kabineh for five hours to attempt to remove it - but they had no success. Josephine needed a cardiac thoracic surgeon but there wasn’t one onboard. David was devastated. Mercy Ships had been his last hope.

Josephine’s condition deteriorated rapidly. The country of Ghana had the required surgeon, but he was unavailable. Who could help?

Ann Gloag phoned a friend in Nairobi to explain the critical need for a paediatric cardiac thoracic surgeon. The friend called Dr. James Munene, head of cardiac surgery at Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital. 

I was reluctant,“ said Dr. Munene. „I had never heard of Mercy Ships. I had no information on the case and it was the middle of the night!  But by 1:00 am, I had the ticket and paperwork and was at Nairobi airport by 6:00 am,“ he explained.

Dr. Gary and Dr. James operated, fishing the stone out of her bronchus easily. And after a few days, Josephine and her grateful parents went home with little Josephine grinning happily as they left the Africa Mercy.

So many miraculous circumstances came together to save this tiny girl’s life. Healthy now, perhaps one day she will understand how help from volunteers around the world was uniquely orchestrated to save her precious life!

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