This Thursday I leave Kenya to spend nearly two months in the US. For the first three weeks, I am going to be a volunteer attending on the internal medicine and pediatric wards where I did my residency. Volunteering on two separate continents should get me some sort of merit badge or at least a coupon to an all-you-can-eat buffet at restaurant of my choosing. Just saying.
Traveling back to the US can be an exciting event, but the flying part…sigh. I have been on 8 (yes, 8!) flights where there was an in-flight medical emergency, and I’ve needed to respond. Medical literature and the FAA cite there is ONE in-flight medical emergency for every 604 flights or 24 to 130 in-flight medical emergencies per 1 million passengers (JAMA. 2018;320(24):2580-2590). Pause for effect…
The literature says that most emergencies are due to benign things like light-headedness or vomiting. However, diversions or emergency landings occur in only 4.4% of in-flight medical emergencies, and these are typically due to more serious conditions like respiratory or heart problems requiring emergency landing. Of the 8 emergencies I’ve attended to, I’ve unfortunately had to divert 1 plane in route from Istanbul to Atlanta (that’s a 12.5% diversion rate for me). Not a great way to make friends (unless you’re the sick passenger).
Back to this summer. Ree’L and Sylis will join me toward the end of my volunteer work, and then we will make the cross-country trek (literally coast to coast) to see as many family, friends and supporters as possible. If you want to connect while we’re there, please send me a note, and we’ll see if we are passing through your neighborhood.
True to BS form, we will be “dividing and conquering”. (for those of you wondering what BS is, it is the combined title of Brotherton-Street, affectionately given to us by our organization). We will be together for a spell and then split up again to maximize the number of folks we can see.
There are a few things we would ask for you guys to think and pray about if they come to mind.
1. Our travel, and that each of us can enjoy the flight (i.e., no in-flight emergencies, getting our crash-course in US culture again by binge watching movies).
2. Our meetings, speaking engagements and interactions; that we would be fully present with each person and each group.
3. Our times of rest, that we would actually be able to do that well.
Lastly, there are a couple tangible needs that we have. If you feel that you can join us in filling these, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1. Looking for an old iPhone (iOS 5 or newer) to connect to a hand-held ultrasound probe designed for low-resource settings. I’m hoping to purchase the probe soon to use in our ICU. I got to test one of these probes last week; check out the video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/By2OvUqBwF5/.
2. Looking for good Litman stethoscopes to better equip our learners here.
Thank you all for your continued support. Nothing that we do here would be possible without your continued love, care and support.