Thursday, June 12, 2014


Samantha was in a house fire when she was about two years old. If Oscar, one of our clinic nursing assistants, hadn't run into the blaze and saved her, she would have died that day! She came to our clinic for dressing changes a few times, but eventually, her parents stopped bringing her because it was too painful. Six months after the incident, her leg looked like this:
If you look closely, you can see that the scar tissue has pulled the 3 smallest toes much higher on the foot than they should be. When the time comes for Samantha to go to school, she won't be able to wear the required closed-toe shoes without painful rubbing and probably ulceration of those toes.
Fast-forward 2 years and I arranged to have Samantha's foot operated by a visiting plastic surgeon. She was the belle of the ball - every one of the American medical staff adored her, with her crooked toothy smile and her raspy smoke-damaged voice. One nurse even asked if she could adopt Samantha, mistakenly believing that the little girl is a resident at an orphanage.
The doctors cut away some of the scar tissue and took a skin graft from Samantha's groin to place over the surgical site. It's healing well, and although it wasn't a miracle fix, I think that Samantha will be able to wear a shoe now, so long as she has sturdy socks.

Samantha comes to clinic every day, although now, 5 weeks after surgery, we only change the dressing every two days. She just loves being around clinic, so even on the days that we don't need to see her, you can find her out on the porch watching patients go in and out, or playing with Rudenchly, our other burn victim. I think someday, the two of them are going to co-write a book titled "Children of the Clinic".

They always leave me wondering: do we love them because they are around all the time, or are they around all the time because we love them?

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