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Every New Year is filled with hope and excitement, ambitious plans and resolutions. It was no different for the family at the dawn of 2016. My parents, sisters and nieces who had travelled from the UK to enjoy Christmas holidays in Uganda set off for Kitgum, our ancestral home in the early hours of the 2nd day of January 2016. They were all full of joy and dreams for the future as they boarded the hired van that was to transport them to and from at 05:30hrs. I waved them off happily and went back to bed because my two daughters had accompanied them on the trip.
My peaceful sleep was disturbed and my world was shattered by a phone call at 10:15 hrs. A stranger informed me that my family had been in a “terrible accident”, he repeated “terrible accident and there have been some fatalities”! .My first thought was that it was a sick joke, this could not be true! Denial was trying to set in. I had just taken Millet porridge with my loved ones a few hours ago, my home had been full of the joy, love and laughter of a close-knit family a few hours ago! I was supposed to travel with them but I hadn’t because I had work the following Monday and I never wanted to spend the whole weekend travelling. One thousand thoughts were invading my mind at the same time. I shook myself back to reality and asked the Good Samaritan who rescued my family details of location and injuries. He informed me that he would take my injured loved ones to Lacor Hospital in Gulu and that he would keep me updated with regular progress reports.
I died a thousand deaths and my heart broke into millions of pieces!!! .How and why had this happened? Within a split second I remembered I had to launch a rescue mission. I had to collect thoughts, pull myself together and go to my family in Gulu, they needed me! I immediately dialed the IHK Transport line and informed the team that I required an urgent ambulance to Gulu. Within an hour, Shaban, Faith and I set off for Gulu. During the 4 hour journey that felt much longer, I was informed that my beloved Mother, Father and older sister Eliza had died instantly. My sister Marjorie and my two daughters, Anabel and Gabby were suffering from severe injuries. Marjorie’s daughters, Bena and Adelia and my sister Carol were less severely injured. They were Lacor and Gulu Independent Hospitals. I cried out to God, my Heavenly father and Creator! I kept praying, pleading with Him. He had taken my Parents and my sister, He had to save my daughters! Further devastating news; Anabel had suffered severe head injuries and she was deteriorating, she was unconscious and would not survive a road trip back to Kampala. “Father God!” I said, “You are the only One who can handle this situation”. I realize that it was only Divine intervention that could alter the devastating calamity that was engulfing my life. I quickly phoned a prayerful friend and sister in Christ in the UK and asked her start a prayer chain. Within the hour there were people in all continents praying for my family! Mental clarity emerged through the fog of severe anguish and pain, I remembered that IHK could arrange Air rescue. Shaban telephoned back to base and I spoke to Gerald requesting an Air ambulance. He spoke to the company involved and they wanted an immediate payment of $4000!. It was virtually impossible to organize that kind of money at that particular moment. Gerald quickly thought outside the box and managed to ensure that the Air ambulance took off from Kajjansi on Credit. The Road ambulance and the Air ambulance reached Gulu at the same time, 15:00hrs.
When I walked into Lacor Hospital A+E, I was met by an awful sight. I could not recognize my beloved Anabel. Her face was swollen to 3 times its usual size, her beautiful long hair was shaved off and her gorgeous ebony complexion had sinister pale hue. I had to feel for her heart beat to know that she was still alive. My baby girl Gabby had a huge blood stained dressing across her head and her little face was puffy. She was irritable and crying out in pain. Both children were surrounded by crowds of people, friends and family including my two sons who had spent Christmas in Gulu. They were all trying to do all they could to try and save my precious girls. I held my daughters, one at a time, I prayed over them, I covered them with the Blood of Jesus and I reassured them that their Mummy was there so all would be well. I was determined that my daughters would survive, after all, I served a miraculous God, I told myself. I was determined that my God would perform a miracle for me the same way He did when He walked the earth 2000 years ago.
Again through the surreal surroundings, I remembered my sister Marjorie who was undergoing resuscitation in the A+E department. A further blow, she had not made it. She had died from her injuries, she had bled to death. What would her daughters do without their wonderful mother? Adelia was still breast-feeding! She wasn’t even 1 year yet, she would turn one in 6 days time and her mother wouldn’t be there to celebrate and make a huge fuss over her! There was no time for those thoughts, my daughters and my nieces had to get back to Kampala, to IHK. We quickly arranged the dispatch, picking up my nieces on the way to the air field. They were both conscious and alert but emotionally severely traumatized.
Dr William and Gerald had travelled with the Air crew. Dr William took charge of the rescue operation, assisted by Nurse Faith. The immediate resuscitation was commenced on board and we travelled safely to Kajjansi Air strip. The two ambulances that were awaiting our arrival manoeuvred through the rush hour traffic to Kampala Hospital for CT scans and then to IHK. We got to A+E, IHK at 20:00hrs. Dr Mobale was in A+E anticipating emergency surgery for Marjorie following my initial conversation with him, unfortunately this was not to be. He was later to expertly operate on Anabel and Carol, very kindly waiving his professional fees for Carol’s operation. Dr Ben and Dr Muhame arrived soon after wards and assessed the children and managed the conditions in their respective specialties. Anabel and Gabby were admitted to the ICU where they were stabilized and very closely monitored. Dr Joel attended later that night to review the CT scans of their heads. Adelia and Bena were admitted to the Paediatric ward and Carol to IP2.
We were in Hospital for 2 weeks. My family all received excellent care, from the cleaners who kept the environment spick and spun, the security team who dealt with the deluge of visitors and well-wishers to the Nurses and Doctors who worked tirelessly and diligently treating my daughters, nieces and sister. It was an extremely difficulty, heart-wrenching time for us but everyone around us in IHK showed us nothing but love and kindness. Several colleagues visited, many came to pray with us and collected a financial blessing. I will never forget the Security guard outside ICU who spontaneously reached into his pocket and blessed me with 5000 shillings. He told me it wasn’t much but he wanted to help. He does not know how much it meant to me, I was moved to tears. I know that God smiled upon us and we were able to leave Hospital in a stable condition healing in mind and body but the staff of IHK were the tool that He used to perform his miraculous divine healing upon my loved ones. I arrived at IHK on the evening of the 2nd of January 2016 undergoing an experience that I would never wish on my worst enemy and we left 2 weeks later having had the care and attention that I would wish for all the patients and careers out there.
My daughters and nieces are now healthy in body and mind. They all received counseling from an excellent Child psychologist recommended by Dr Muhame. Gabby had further surgery under Dr Ben for the reconstruction of her right thumb which was crushed in the accident. She is due to have further surgery to be performed by both Dr Ben and Dr Mubbale in early August. They are now enjoying their long summer holidays after returning to school at the beginning of February. Anabel has caught up with her class and is joining secondary school in August.
I give God the Glory for this miracle but I would like to thank all the staff of IHK from the bottom of my very grateful heart for everything they have done for us. May the Good Lord bless them all and bless their families.
Dr Helen Aloyo Lugone
As the former COO of IHK I feel like I know the place pretty well. However this week has been my first experience on the receiving end of inpatient care at IHK. I found it a humbling experience, and quite emotional in many ways. My youngest daughter Erin was brought to IHK with a fever of over 40 degrees, and admitted on Saturday to HDU with a very high malaria count. I have never seen her so sick, and as a parent I was extremely worried.
From the moment we arrived we knew we were in competent hands. We were admitted into the ICU to monitor her closely as she had a very low platelet count. Staying in ICU with the bright lights and alarming beeps is hardly restful, but my daughter was treated with care and competence.
When we were moved to the ward it felt like we had just checked into a hotel. The nurse who was now responsible for Erin’s care promptly arrived and introduced himself to Erin and ourselves. He was gentle and humorous, and made Erin smile, something she had not done for days. He communicated what he was doing and what we should expect superbly, and left us feeling reassured.
Erin is now recovering well and we expect her to be discharged this afternoon. It is hard to express how I feel about the hospital that I worked with, which my father built, and which saved the life of my little girl. But I am extremely grateful.
I have always been extremely proud of IHK and the IHK staff, but I have never felt so grateful for its existence on a personal level. I am very grateful to live so close to it, and proud to be associated with it.
Client appreciates International Hospital Kampala Nursery for the great work, child was born prematurely weighing 1kg but now a normal growing happy baby girl.