Over the years thousands of people have been rescued thanks to MAF medevacs. Often the most vulnerable people we serve are expectant mothers. Labour complications can be disastrous in remote communities. Here are some stories from the field.
When Nyandeang, a 16 year-old mother-to-be, entered a fourth day of obstructed labour, it was clear she needed to be in the country’s best hospital as soon as possible. A quick call to MAF was made and a flight diverted to collect her. Medair staff in Juba sprang into action as soon as the plane landed, lifting Nyandeang by stretcher into an improvised ambulance. Dodging traffic and potholes, the vehicle brought Nyandeang to the hospital. Stella, a Medair worker says “I crouched beside Nyandeang on the floor, feeling helpless. She looked terrified”. Nyandeang was taken into the delivery room, but the baby had already died. “We know that if Nyandeang had not been transported to Juba she would certainly have died too,” says Stella. “The MAF team’s response and actions were fantastic”.
Papua New Guinea
It's Friday morning at 11am when they receive the call. They have been asked to pick up a pregnant woman, Essl, who has been in a lot of pain since the first contractions on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the baby is lying crosswise in the abdomen. Sangera,, where she lives, has no health center or nurse to help her. The flight from Wewak to Sangera is just over 20 minutes long. With a lot of help she gets into the plane. She twists her hair around the pulls some out, a cultural sign of distress, which seems to be her way of dealing with the pain. On the way back to Wewak pilot mathlas glass is sweating profusely in the steamy lowland atmosphere, Will the ambulance be waiting at the airport? The base staff have called for it, but as they approach Wewak and fly across the hospital they see the ambulance still parked there at the hospital. Knowing there is no time to loose the ground staff prepare the MAF bus and as soon as they land, Essl is helped into the MAF bus. Even the drive to the hospital is exhausting. The road full of potholes and the bridge is unsafe. Today a very thankful Essl and her baby are alive and well. The realist is that she had tried to delivery the baby in her village, they would not have survived.
Pilot Michael Bottrell was on the grounds at Los Palos when the base received a call for a medevac from same for an 10 year old woman in labor with complications (eclampsia). She had very high blood pressure and convulsions - her life was in danger. Michael flew from Los Palos direct to Same, a 48 minute flight. 20 minutes later the patient and her family were loaded and the plane departed for the 22 minute flight to Dill, where the ambulance was waiting to take her to the hospital. All told it was an hour and a half from receiving the call to delivering her to the ambulance. Without MAF, this would have taken close to 9 hours.
At just 20 years old, she was in grave danger. Yvette's pregnancy was not successful. The baby didn't carry full-term. What's worse is that attempts to deliver the still-born child for 72 hours were unsuccessful. Yvette (pictured) was about 300 km's from the closest hospital. The scary reality is that she simply would not survive the hours of travel along arduous dirt roads carved through the jungle and around mountains. But that's where we come in, Within just 90 minutes an MAF plane collected Yvette and her father and brought them to the hospital. God used MAF to bring hope into a situation where all hope had been lost.