Finia, A Heart Warming Story
During a recent visit to Malawi to monitor the impact of Positive Steps work in Nkhoma Hospital, Nick and I returned to the burns ward to catch up with the team to be introduced to a little girl named Finia. Finia had suffered severe burns to her chest and stomach when keeping warm next to the open fire and her clothes caught alight. So often, with the young trauma patients at the hospital, the presenting complaint, in this case burns, is not their only problem. Finia had recently been treated for Malaria, that and malnutrition meant that her haemoglobin level was low and she required a blood transfusion to increase her chance of survival. Sadly there was only one bag of blood in the hospital and it was not Finia’s group, O negative.
During my time working and visiting Nkhoma Hospital, I got used to the staff there rolling up their sleeves and offering a unit of blood but obviously they cannot do this all the time…
As we left the burn ward, Nick commented that he thought he may be O negative and would like to help. Within the hour he had given blood which was then administered to Finia. We visited her daily until the end of our stay in Malawi, a few days later she was sitting up in bed and much stronger. A week after our return to the UK, Finia was given a skin graft and continued to do well – making a full recovery.
Nick said, “ It was nothing heroic, just what most people would have done, but what it does show is how different things are in Malawi – apart from the one I gave there was only one other unit of blood in the whole hospital – I guess we take these things for granted at home.”
It’s a nice story with a happy ending, but does show how much needs to be done to support Nkhoma Hospital – things are very different there!