Medical Emergency

Tonny’s brother had recently been in Nairobi hoping to do a driving course. Because the Karwa’s were moving to Donholm they were unable to assist him with the fees at the moment. The brother (Jack) then went back upcountry where he’s been a motorbike rider. The bike is not his but he – according to Tonny – would use the proceeds both for his livelihood and future education needs.

Last week, after coming back home from work, three people came to their homestead at around 9 p.m. asking to be transported to a neighbouring village. Jack really resisted the request. They said that they had a motorbike but needed a second one for the 3rd passenger (who was a lady). Jack finally, but reluctantly agreed to offer transport services.

These three were sadly going to attack someone. On arriving, Jack, who didn’t know what they were planning, dropped them and then waited on his bike by the gate of the homestead so that he would ferry his passenger back.

It is while waiting on his bike that the person whose homestead had been attacked by Jack’s passengers come out with a machete and a sword. He had overpowered his attackers and had now come out to attack Jack who he thought was one of them. His aim seems to have been to hack Jack’s neck but he missed and slashed him around the check. It was a 15 cm. cut from the ear to around the jaw. Jack fell from his bike and then his attacker stabbed him on the back left side with a sharp sword. He missed his heart but the injury was really bad. The attacker – who apparently operated a changaa den (illicit alcohol) in that homestead – then ran away.

One of the eye witnesses at the time recognized Jack and using his phone called Tonny’s mother. The mother phoned other motor-bike riders who came to the scene. Because the bleeding was really bad, the riders could not wait for Tonny’s parents to arrive. They preferred to dash him to Bondo for treatment. At Bondo, because of the doctor’s strike, Jack could not be treated. The doctor who was there offered to treat him at his private hospital in Siaya (30–45 minutes drive from Bondo). His condition was that an ambulance – which required 10k – be used to ferry Jack. The motor-bike riders didn’t have the money. Tonny’s Dad only had 6.5K and the motorbike that had been bringing him to hospital had ran-out of fuel somewhere between a small town called Akala,and Bondo.

The riders, seeing that they were stuck with no further assistance from Bondo hospital and the possibility of losing Jack because of profuse bleeding, decided it was wise to ferry him back to Akala – the small town where he had been bandaged before being taken to Bondo. A van was available in Akala but there was no driver.

They resorted to ferrying Jack on a motorbike to Kisumu, more than 60 kms. distant. At Port Florence hospital in Kisumu, Jack could not be treated. The medics there said it was beyond them and with Jack now already kicking on the stretcher they requested that he be taken to a private hospital.

Jack was then taken to Avenue Hospital in Kisumu at about 1 or 2 a.m. They needed a deposit of 40k before any major treatment could start. One of Jack’s customer (a teacher he transports to school regularly) gave a loan of 33.5K, which together with the 6.5K which Tonny’s Dad had, made it possible for Avenue to start treating Jack. It was at about 2 p.m. that Jack’s head could now be un-bandaged. They had bandaged the whole head only leaving the nose at night. He fainted at this point and the nurses thought they had lost him. The doctor however found out he was still alive and proceeded to surgery. A CT scan showed a fractured cheek bone. He seems to also have lost hearing on the side of the head that was not attacked.

When Tonny’s dad noticed that after only two days in hospital the un-paid bill was already almost 100K – and that he was already in a debt of 40K – he requested for a transfer. They could not obtain it without paying this outstanding bill. So the hospital stopped treating but kept charging 8K for the bed on a daily basis. Tonny then travelled from Nairobi to Kisumu (360 kms.). He pleaded with the hospital to either discharge or keep treating but they did not agree. The bill was now rising and no treatment was being offered. Olivia’s relatives had a fund-raiser which collected 13K and Tonny paid it. The hospital then agreed to give medicine but no doctor’s services. A cousin of Olivia then borrowed 100K from her chama and then with this Tonny cleared the outstanding balance. Jack was then taken back upcountry where one of Tonny sisters is taking care of the wounds and observing him.

A number of action points are there for us;

  1. Prayer for Jack. That he survived such a long journey in the middle of the night with so much bleeding is providence to me. Let’s pray that the Lord would preserve him further, heal him and bring him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Prayer for Tonny. He is really down.
  3. Jack’s continued medicare. After surgery – especially a head surgery – one needs to be kept from infection. Public hospitals are still a no-go-zone for now because of the doctor’s strike. But I wonder, how about having him checked into a nursing home where a trained person would be the one cleaning the wounds in a more sanitized environment?
  4. The debts owing which are already being demanded is the second area of need. The lady who advanced 33.5K needs it soonest as it was her school fees. The one who borrowed 100K is also asking for it because her chama requires it. As of this morning, Tonny tells me that their game plan was for Olivia to request her boss for a 50K advance which they can use as down payment for the 100K and then strive to pay the rest on a monthly basis. Tony is looking at using his stipend to pay for the 33.5K in about two instalments. It would severely strain the Karwa’s if they took up this burden alone. It will possibly distract him from TPC work and Olivia who is already in a crazy work environment will be in a way handcuffed there. (Note 33.5K = 33,500/=, £1 = 120/=)

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