Dr. Jeff Kramer in Ghana

Jeff meeting a young patient
Jeff meeting a young patient

Not long ago, Dr. Jeff Kramer traveled to Ghana with an International Needs medical team. Every day, the team traveled to a new village, setting up medical clinics and fully stocked pharmacies in local schools.

In five days, the team treated more than 2,000 patients for everything from headaches and back pain to malaria and typhoid. They worked nonstop—until the lunch hour.

“For Ghanaians, lunch is sacrosanct,” says Jeff. “It was a little uncomfortable for us Americans, but when in Ghana, do as the Ghanaians do.”

The team was based in the town of Kanuwloe on one of the busiest days of the clinic. Jeff stopped for lunch and noticed a young boy lying on the cement floor just outside the lunchroom. He asked after the boy and was told that the child was fine and only sleeping.

But later, when the boy appeared in Jeff’s treatment chair, it became clear that the child was desperately ill. He had a 104-degree fever and hadn’t eaten in three days. He was vomiting and had bloody diarrhea. Jeff prescribed antimalarial medication and antibiotics for typhoid.

 

 

But when the appointment was over, the boy became too weak to stand.

Alarmed, Jeff retrieved one of the few bags of saline on hand and knelt down beside the boy. The child’s veins were shriveled from dehydration. Jeff hadn’t put an IV in a child in years—nor had any other member of the team.

Full of apprehension, Jeff prayed for a steady hand. The Lord was faithful, and the IV went in without a hitch. The little boy didn’t even flinch. A pint of saline later, the boy left with a smile on his face and antibiotics in his pocket. And he left happily sucking on a lollipop that he’d been too weak to accept earlier.

Jeff learned how gratifying it is to help alleviate a child’s suffering, and how one story can change one’s heart forever.

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