The conditions in the Philippines are so grim that officials at a local hospital ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan were forced to use a chapel room at the medial facility to take care of patients. Unfortunately, with so little first-world medical care available to the typhoon, a three-day old baby with a sever breathing condition died after heroic efforts by her parents and staff.
The baby girl, according to an AP report, was born with a condition called newborn asphyxia, which is a failure to start breathing properly in the moments immediate after birth. If not corrected, children can either die or suffer from potential brain damage. Genia Mae Mustacisa pumped oxygen into the lungs of her baby with a hand-held pump at the government-run Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center.
But, because power lines are down and the hospital’s ventilators had not been working, the baby girl named Althea passed away.
“There was no electricity and none of the equipment in the hospital — flooded and wrecked — worked. Not the ventilators, not the incubators, not the suction pumps to feed her oxygen,” the AP report said.
Instead, her parents had to push life into her mouth with a hand-held pump connected to an oxygen tank. They took turns to do this continuously since she came into this world without stopping. With her lungs barely functioning, the only sign of life in the infant was a heartbeat.
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But Althea’s fragile body could not cope. Even the heartbeat stopped on Saturday evening, a few hours after an Associated Press team visited the hospital.
The attending physician, Dr. Leslie Rosario, told the AP that her parents wrapped her body in a small blanket and left in tears.
David Stevens, MD, of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, based in the U.S., tells LifeNews it will be sending a relief team to provide medical care to the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. He will lead a five-member team that will leave Wednesday, November 20 to assess the medical needs in the Baybay City area which has a population of more than 100,000. Following the assessment, CMDA will coordinate waves of medical teams to provide assistance over the next several months as needed.
“We have been asked by the International Office of the Salvation Army and the World Health Organization to provide medical teams to deal with the catastrophic destruction caused by the typhoon. The team’s focus will be on an area that has received little help so far. We expect to be working at the District Hospital in Baybay,” stated Stevens.
There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and the United Nations estimates that more than two million are now homeless due to the typhoon. An estimated 12,000 people have been injured, overwhelming the local healthcare system which has also been badly damaged.
If you are interested in participating in this relief work, go to CMDA’s website at www.cmda.org and click on the banner on the home page for Global Health Relief to find out more information and to submit an application. You can also participate by contributing to this endeavor financially by clicking on GIVE NOW located in the upper right corner of the website.