Case Spotlight

The Addis Clinic connects physicians to frontline health workers, allowing for specialty care in the most remote and underserved areas.

Delivering a child is a life-changing experience, especially if it is your first one. Mothers everywhere rely on postpartum care and support to help navigate this new phase of life. If you happen to give birth in a community with limited access to health care, your risk of complications is much higher.

A few weeks ago, a young mother from Ethiopia was seen by an Ethiopian nurse. Three days after she delivered a healthy baby girl, she developed breast lesions and tenderness on both sides of the breasts. A large number of new mothers experience a painful side effect from breastfeeding called mastitis, a bacterial infection in the breast. In countries with a fully functional health system and appropriate postpartum care, it’s usually treated with antibiotics and additional lactation support.

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If proper treatment is not available due to lack of access and resources, a breast abscess may occur, a very rare but very serious health concern. Women may experience sharp pain, a swollen breast lump, high temperature and flu like symptoms. In this case, our patient complained for two month about her pain but wasn’t seen by a health care provider. When she finally came to the clinic,  the abscess had already drained through the skin causing extreme pain and discomfort and inhibiting the mother’s ability to feed her newborn. Through our telemedicine, a consulting volunteer physician directed appropriate tests and a 10 day course of antibiotics as part of the treatment plan.

We are happy to report that after completing the recommended treatment plan, the patient’s abscess has healed and she has been able to continue feeding her young baby. The collaboration of a local, caring nurse and a specialty physician half way around the world allowed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for the patient despite the limited access to health care services.

(picture: ValeriaRodrigues)