Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nephew John - Surgery - Hydrocephalus


While I was in Canada my nephew John was hospitalized with a problem to his shunt. London Health Sciences Centre is not far from my parent's home.

John's shunt was blocked and not functioning. A neurosurgeon replaced the shunt and a general surgeon did the surgery on his abdomen to place the tubing in that area for the shunt to drain. My niece Laura is sitting with her brother John in bed.

Hospitals in Canada are far ahead in technology and care than hospitals in Haiti. The children in the pediatrics department can watch television and have internet access at their bedside.

My dad is sitting in one of the chairs in John's room.

A view from the window of Johns's room, of the "Forest City"; London, Ontario, Canada

John came through the surgery well but then started to develop complications.

He was starting to have stomach pains. Every day his abdominal pains grew progressively worse and sometimes he would scream in pain when someone touched him. The doctors determined that he had something going on in his abdomen. Fluid from the shunt was accumulating in his abdomen and wasn't being absorbed into his body. The scar tissue from previous surgeries was part of the problem as well. John had over a liter of fluid in his abdomen. I returned to Haiti on Tuesday and this week John had surgery to remove the shunt tubing from his abdomen. Currently he has an external drain bag where fluid from the shunt in his brain is drained into. In a week or so he will have another surgery to place the shunt tubing this time near his lung/heart area. Yesterday John was unresponsive. They did an EEG and there was no brain activity. He was in a coma. Later in the afternoon he woke up from his coma. Doctors, nurses and my family don't know really what caused John's coma, but we give the Lord thanks that he is alive and out of his coma. Please keep John in prayer as he recovers from the surgery this week and his coma and also as he undergoes another surgery soon. Pray for my sister Tanya and family as they look after John.

The last time I visited the hospital we saw and Orange ambulance there. I pray that Haiti will one day have medical care services like in Canada.

On Johns' hospital room wall are a couple of class photos. This is a dress up photo one day this year that was taken at the school he attends.

Clarke Road Secondary School in London, Ontario has an excellent special education program. Mr. Van Niekerk (Mr. V) has been John's teacher for the last couple of years. John has always been a happy child and loves to joke around. At a school assembly during the school year he sang O Canada in English and in French :)

For people who don't know John's history we found him in the abandoned children's ward at General Hospital here in Port-au-Prince 16 years ago. At the time he was a 1-month-old baby with a huge head. He wasn't able to feed properly and was fed with a feeding tube. Tanya made a visit to Haiti when John was a few months old and tried to feed him with a baby bottle. Amazingly he started to suck from the bottle. People here in Haiti said that John had no brain and that nothing could be done for him. Tanya went back to Canada and talked with Dr John Delmaestro who was a neurosurgeon at London Health Sciences Center. He agreed to do the surgery to place a shunt into John's brain.

We did the paperwork necessary for John to travel to Canada and were able to bring him to Canada. Here is Tanya changing John's clothes at the airport in Toronto.

Because John is from Haiti he wasn't able to get free medical care under Canada's health systems. People from across Canada donated money to pay for the hospitalization and surgery. Over $80,000 was raised to cover these costs. And today John has proven not only that he has a brain but he can bring a smile to everyone's face who meets him. John is a lesson for all of us.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Praying for John, and for all of your family!