Patient Stories

Malawian kids go through a lot to get to KCH and other state hospitals. Our aim is not to disappoint them when they get there.

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Ida Patrick

Ida Patrick is a shy 2 year old girl who clings to her mother, watching us carefully as we ask about her story. Ida is an only child who lives with her 19 year old mother and her grandmother in Mitundu. She was born with a rectovestibular fistula and no anus. This means that she has been passing stools through her vagina since birth. She needs a stoma now so the stool is diverted away from her vagina, and she will later need another operation to repair her fistula and make an anus. Unfortunately, we have no available operative slot until late March. This means Ida and her mother will have to make the 2 hour journey back to Mitundu, costing them a total of 4,000 MK. It took them three weeks to raise the travel fare because they are subsistence farmers and have no consistent income. Hopefully they will be able to raise travel money again and won’t be sent home a second time, but there are no guarantees.

Spiton Banda

Spiton Banda is an adorable 11 month old boy who can easily entertain himself with an empty food wrapper. Many months ago he had intussusception which resulted in the need for a stoma. His 22 year old mother brought him to KCH for stoma reversal, but his skin is terribly excoriated around the stoma so they will probably have to wait in the hospital for a while before the stoma can be closed. Spiton is an only child and they live in Kasungu which is about 3 hours away from the hospital. Spiton’s father is a secondary school teacher who makes 336,000 MK a year, so they were able to save the 5,000 MK for the roundtrip to KCH in one week. Most of our patients’ families are not luck enough to have such good jobs. His mother is a subsistence farmer so she is able to provide a very small amount of inconsistent income for the family, but mostly helps secure food for the family. Depending on the number of other children awaiting operations and the time it takes for Spiton’s skin to heal, they may be sent home and asked to return in a few months’ time to await surgery again.

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Lucius Lenard

Lucius Lenard is a happy 11 year old boy who can be found playing outside in the courtyard or joking around with his grandmother. He had a stoma formation in November after typhoid perforation and is now awaiting reversal. He arrived at the hospital two weeks ago, has been starved twice this week in preparation for surgery, and then waited outside of the operative theater all morning only to be canceled both times. He will continue waiting in the hospital.

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