Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Sawyer Serving with Samaritan's Purse
Papua New Guinea

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Random Thoughts for the Week...

Thursday, June 17, 2010: One of the joys of going on medical mission trips is bringing my children. Here is our oldest son, Michael, in the operating room. Here he is studying the x-ray of a little boy with osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) while Dr. Jim Radcliffe was debriding the leg and treating the infection.

Andrew has yet to come into the operating room, but has been busy painting and doing maintenance projects. Anna and Amber continue to be popular with everyone. Here they are in the arms of Apa. Apa loves them, and I think it is because Apa's own child drowned in a river when he slipped off of a log and fell into the water with her child while walking home one night. They did not find the body of his young son for three days.

Teresa is starting on a new project, creating a computer program for the hospital pharmacy to be able to order medications from the government in a more efficient manner. She has been very busy being the hostess to different families nearly every night.

Here I am in the maternity ward doing an ultrasound. Papua New Guinea has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. It seems nearly every day when making rounds we hear of another baby that died in the nursery. The welcome manual for visiting physicians has the following to say about this, "The death of babies can be difficult to understand. It is common for a couple to have lost at least one child in infancy, and two or three is not too unusual. There is what I understand to be an attempt to hold the personhood of the child at bay until they have passed the most vulnerable first few weeks of life (for instance, by not naming a child until he or she is several weeks old). PNGers love their children intensely, so it is surprising to see how matter-of-factly they seem to accept the death of a newborn. The demonstrative grieving is not usually done in this situation, but if you watch the eyes of a new mom as you tell her that her baby is dead, you won't have any doubt that the grief is just as real."

Last night a little girl came into the ER with a skull fracture and injuries to her torso after a tree fell on her. She was in a coma. I just learned that she died earlier today.

Dorea, the little girl I wrote about with pigbel, is going home soon. I was able to give her a tootsie-roll lolli-pop yesterday. She had a big smile for me.

Hopefully our internet will stay up. Thank you for following my blog!


  1. Way to go Teresa - all of your computer "experiences" and "opportunities for learning" (ha) with computers here in the States is proving useful there!!! What a wonderful idea to help the pharmacy order supplies. Glad you are being able to host families - you have such an encouraging personality. Kids sound and look happy. We sure do miss you ... yet we are happy you are there being such an encouragement.

  2. I have just caught up on all of your blogs and my overwhelming thought as I finish is that I am SO proud and blessed that you are my doctor. Thank you for all that you do. I love that your kids get to have these experiences and am sure this will positively impact who they will become and how they will live their lives. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day.

    Much Love,
    Kate Pritchard

  3. Thank you Allan & Teresa for modeling a wonderful example for your children and exposing them to the work there in PNG. We take so much for granted here in the US and reading your blog really helps to see the reality of life in other countries. It is a honor to continue to pray for you!

    Vicky Philips

  4. I love reading the blog about your trip! Michael seems to be at home in the OR. :) Miss you guys, but know that God is blessing you over there...you are doing tremendous work for Him and saving lives while doing so!


  5. I am really enjoying your blog posts! May God continue to use you all in a mighty way. Praying here in Phoenix, Janet