The Clinic of Hope’s recently acquired digital x-ray machine saves lives!
The x-ray machine arrived at the clinic earlier this year. Clinic staff have already seen the value of this equipment as it helps with diagnosing very ill patients.
Recently, 11-month-old Juliette came to the clinic with a high fever, failure to thrive, shortness of breath, and dangerously low blood oxygen saturation levels. Initially, her symptoms suggested that she might have pneumonia but she did not respond to intravenous antibiotics during her first 24 hours of treatment.
A digital x-ray exam immediately diagnosed the problem. She was infected with tuberculosis.
This disease is difficult to diagnose in infants. Failure to quickly make the correct diagnosis can be fatal for severely infected children like Juliette.
Without the presence of the x-ray machine in the clinic, it would have been necessary to send Juliette to Gonaives for an x-ray exam. When patients are very ill, as Juliette was, it is extremely difficult to quickly arrange transportation and funding for an x-ray in another facility. Also, with an active case of tuberculosis, other people who would have come in contact with her would be at risk of becoming infected with tuberculosis.
After her diagnosis was established, the other six individuals who live (and sleep) together in her home were also examined. Two of the six were also diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Being able to establish the correct diagnosis in Juliette, not only impacted her health but also the other members of her family.
By Dr. Joe Markee, HFH board member and team leader