Our March cases required the expertise of more specialties than ever before! One of these cases was a very ill 6-year-old girl with sickle cell disease. Her family brought her to a local clinical officer in Kenya because she was in intense pain, and suffering from headaches, exhaustion, fever and dizziness. Upon examination the clinician also discovered multiple ulcerations in this girl’s mouth. In his small health center the clinical officer tested her hemoglobin level, which was quite low, and then submitted the case to The Addis Clinic. He asked us to connect him with a physician more experienced in treating this type of patient.
Thankfully, we have a physician volunteer specialized in pediatric hematology, and she quickly agreed to take the case. Our volunteer hematologist reviewed the thorough case history and examination results submitted by the clinical officer and responded with a number of possible differential diagnosis. Her first thought was a viral illness due to the fever and mouth ulcerations, though she did not rule out bacterial infection, acute chest, or an aplastic crisis (temporary stop to the production of red blood cells). Her responses helped guide the referring clinical officer through the next steps to take in the patient’s care. Our volunteer physician recommended a blood culture and IV antibiotics if the girl’s fever increased to a certain point, a chest x-ray, and treating the patient with medication for her fever, as well as IV fluids and pain control. She also recommended testing the patient’s hemoglobin level at regular intervals to watch it improve.
Without The Addis Clinic, this patient would have had to wait weeks to be seen by a physician with this type of knowledge. Additionally, the cost of travel for the patient and the cost of the visit would be prohibitive for her family. Instead, she received top-notch care from her local provider, who had the knowledge of a specialty physician from a world class institution behind him. We look forward to sharing this young girl’s recovery story on social media very soon!