It was a hot morning, emergency room was busy as usual. While all colleagues were fully occupied by patients, one more patient had arrived by stretcher.
She was a 6 year-old girl, father looked very nervous. Colleague comforted him and asked him about girl’s condition in local language, and I did the medical examination to the girl. She looked very tired, sunken eye, dried lips, very poor result in skin pinch test. She also had severe diarrhea and vomiting since yesterday. We concluded that it was severe dehydration, and intravenous fluid was immediately needed to be given for replacement.
During infusion, father was still nervous and holding her hands tightly all the time. Over the first half-hour, the rapid infusion period has ended and the situation of girl improved a lot, fortunately. When a girl can slightly hold his father by her little hands and fingers, I saw the girl smiled, and her father smiled as well. Additionally with help of oral rehydration salts, the girl was soon out of the situation of severe dehydration. After a few more hours of observation, she was discharged home. Before leaving, the girl smiled once again and waved to us. Father did not say anything, but gave us a subtle smile. I think this is a recognition of our work and why MSF is here. It is not necessary to have applause for appreciation, smiles from patients and their families are definitely sufficient.
I looked back what we used to treat the girl, intravenous catheters, infusion tubing and fluid, oral rehydration salts and gloves. These seemingly simple materials, can really save a life, and make a family smile as well. Colleagues always say, sometimes we not only help the patient, more likely a family. I am sure it would not happen if there is no help from donor especially in these remote settings near the border.
You may not be able to participate the relief work on the front line with me, I sincerely hope you can also work on your own way to support MSF. Please support MSF Hong Kong Day on 7 July, by donating a day’s income to help MSF to save more lives, and make more families smiles because of your contributions.