(Prescription Without Borders)
It was our last day in Ahuas; the clinic
was quiet,” said
Maryellen Dye, assistant professor of nursing, who spent
December 28-January 10 at the the Moravian Board of World
Mission clinic in the back country of Honduras with two nursing students, Elise
Alexander, Summit Hill, and Carrie Emery, Whitehouse Station, N.J., both ’04.
“Suddenly a car horn went off, and a whole family carried in this door
with a 60-year-old woman on it.” In this lowland country, houses are built
on stilts, and the woman had fallen off her steps, sustaining a compound fracture
of the femur, right at the hip joint.
“The standards of care are so different between the States and rural Honduras.
Here we’d give narcotic pain medicine until she went to surgery,” Maryellen
said. But all they could do at this small hospital and clinic was take an X-ray
to determine the extent of the fracture and give her one shot of a narcotic
for pain. “After that, they only have Tylenol available,” Maryellen
is no más. And the only treatment is two months of traction.” Such
immobility puts the patient at risk for blood clots, she explained.
In the radio
room of the clinic, Maryellen learned that a nurse-anesthetist would be coming
in shortly from the U.S. to provide anesthesia for scheduled
If they could get a package of Heparin, a blood-clot preventative, to him,
he could bring it.
Maryellen e-mailed Janet Sipple, dean of Moravian’s School of Nursing,
and Marianne Adam, assistant professor of nursing. Dr. Patrick Brogle at
St. Luke’s Hospital wrote a prescription. The medicine was overnighted
to nurse-anesthetist Tommy Waggoner in North Carolina.
So, in the end, thanks
to teamwork and generosity, the woman’s eight weeks
of immobility will be relatively risk-free.