Celebrating New Life at JSMK
19 December 2018
Karen State, Burma
Here is a story written by Dr. Martin Panter about recent events at our Jungle School of Medicine-Kawthoolei (JSMK). He is a visiting doctor from Australia who came to see our camp and help at JSMK. Martin has been a friend and supporter of FBR and the people of Burma for over 20 years and we love him.
God bless you,
Dave Eubank and FBR
It was in the middle of dinner at Tah U Wah Camp when a worried-looking nurse arrived from the Jungle School of Medicine-Kawthoolei (JSMK) and asked if I would come over immediately, as a pregnant 33-year-old lady had just arrived from a village four hours’ walk away. She had been in labor for 12 hours without any progress. It was her sixth pregnancy and she was exhausted.
On examination she was dehydrated and the baby’s head was high in the pelvis. She clearly needed a C-section but JSMK is not currently equipped with the facilities for this kind of operation. There were also no obstetric forceps. I found a small disposable ventouse suction cap and we decided to try to deliver the baby.
I attached the cap to the baby’s head and pulled with each contraction. The problem with the head so high and the woman lying flat on the floor was that the pull was directly on the symphysis pubis bone at the front of the pelvis. I asked if we could place her on a table so I could pull down at about 45 degrees, which is the anatomical route for delivery.
I spent another 29 minutes pulling with no progress and cranial swelling began. Medical textbooks say that this kind of delivery cannot and should not be attempted.
I realized that if things did not change we were in danger of losing both mother and baby. I stopped and asked if we could all pray and ask God to help us have a quick and safe delivery.
With the next contraction and pull there was a little movement. It continued, little-by-little, and in 10 minutes the baby’s head was delivered, albeit in the difficult occipital posterior position. A few minutes later a little baby girl arrived.
We knew the baby would have problems as the mother had been passing meconium stool which indicates fetal distress. The baby was quite weak but we gave her oxygen and suctioned her and within 10 minutes she was fine!
The following day mom and baby were both fine, the swelling on the baby’s head was reducing and we were giving thanks and praise to God for this new little Karen life!