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September 18, 2012
On Day-3 of the mission, Dr. Andy Gunter, a longtime volunteer for HOPE currently serving as HOPE’s Medical Director in Nepal, and volunteer Certified Nurse Midwife, Helen Welch, found themselves in the middle of a medical emergency. Working at a remote Health Post set up by the mission, Welch determined a laboring woman was in trouble. Her baby was in a breech position and required immediate hospitalization. The two volunteers, along with a Nepalese military physician, rode in the ambulance with the laboring woman to ensure her safe transport to the hospital. But once the baby was born, the two volunteers were called in again to help resuscitate the unresponsive baby in a procedure that saved the infant’s life.
“I am thrilled and thankful that Dr. Gunter and I were able to be present in the crucial few minutes after this newborn’s birth,” said Welch. “It saved this baby’s life and the lessons learned by clinicians that were present during the resuscitation will likely help save lives in the future.”
When the mother was united with the baby, she learned she delivered her first son adding to her family of three girls.
Dr. Gunter and Welch have become real local stars among local health workers and villagers who recognize the baby boy would not have survived without the quick action taken by the Project HOPE team.
Dr. Gunter and Welch visited the family’s home a few days later to perform the baby’s first newborn examination. The team walked down steep mountain roads to reach the remote mountain village nestled in the Annapurna, a section of the Himalayas.
“The baby passed his exam with flying colors and appeared to be thriving,” Dr. Gunter said.
The family of course was thrilled to visit with the medical team that saved their first son’s life. Accompanied by a Nepalese Army physician, who helped translate, Dr. Gunter and Welch brought gifts to the family, including several bags of diapers, creams, baby soap/shampoo, Q-tips, cotton balls and more.
The grateful family invited Dr. Gunter and Welch to return any time.
After trudging the mountain road, uphill this time, both Project HOPE volunteers resumed their work, treating patients at the Health Post in support of Pacific Angel.