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Adventist hospital in Haiti celebrates 35 years of service with the opening of a new state-of-the-art surgical suite
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Global Health Conference 2013
Malawi President Visits Malamulo
Baptism at Malamulo

 

 

Little Rijan

The story of how one small child can inspire the lives of others 

 
By Courtney Beckwith Haas
February 2, 2015

When traveling throughout the world you see things you have never seen before. You experience new cultures, new environments and in the mission field, new miracles you never believed possible. 

Dale Mole, DO, FACEP, has served as a flight surgeon, submarine medical officer, diving medical officer, emergency medicine doctor, hospital commanding officer and U.S. 5th fleet surgeon. But that was all before he retired and decided to try his hand at being a missionary. Throughout his life he has encountered many miracles while living in six different countries, including Antarctica, but one miraculous moment prominently sticks out in his mind from his current position of working as the CEO of Scheer Memorial Hospital in Nepal.

“On my first week in Nepal, I probably witnessed more miracles than in my previous decade working throughout the world,” Mole said. “This particular miracle involving a little 11-year old Nepali boy that impressed me, and will remain with me the rest of my life.”

Upon arrival of his new position in November 2014, Mole was overwhelmed by the current state of the hospital. After assuming his position as CEO on Jan. 1, 2015 after his work visa was received, Mole struggled even more with the realization that this position was going to be a challenge.

“I think what distressed me the most upon arrival was the general state of disrepair and neglect of the facility, lack of clinical and administrative policies and procedures and the general trend of the entire organization,” Mole said. “There is not a single department that doesn’t require major overhaul in policies, procedures, and training, in addition to significant capital investment.”

But despite the current condition of his new home, Mole found a reason to stay, a reason to fight to make the facility better, stronger and more efficient for medical care.

The Nepali boy’s name was Rijan. He was 11-years old at the time and in the Mole’s own words, “Little Rijan was dying.”

After fighting typhoid fever for a number of days, Rijan arrived at the emergency department at Scheer Memorial Hospital. His small body was overwhelmed with infection and was in shock when Mole met him. In the operating room, Rijan’s abdomen was opened carefully by a surgeon and discovered to be oozing with pus. This was caused by to the typhoid bacteria that had eaten a small hole in his intestines. The hole was in need of repair and his abdominal cavity needed to be washed out to ensure the removal of any remaining infection.

After the surgery was completed, Rijan was transferred into the Intensive Care Unit. “Rijan was fighting for his life, but the odds were not in his favor,” Mole said.

Mole goes on to describe the situation in detail. “His family was crying outside the ICU in anticipation of what the future held for their precious little boy.  The level of oxygen in his blood started to fall. From an x-ray it was clear the child had developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which is highly lethal, especially when combined with his septic shock condition.  Treatment for ARDS was immediately initiated and the boy was placed on a ventilator to help improve his oxygenation.  Despite our best efforts, it was doubtful this little boy would survive the night.  I was almost certain when I returned in the morning, Rijan’s bed would be empty.”

To Mole’s surprise, the next morning when he entered the ICU he discovered little Rijan still alive. Not only alive but also showing signs of miraculous improvement.  By that very afternoon, Rijan was taken off of the ventilator that was once thought essential to keep him alive and within a few days he was discharged from the ICU and admitted to the pediatric ward.

From then on, Mole could always find him smiling from his bed. Mole said that he knew that Rijan was getting better and growing stronger despite the fact that everyone believed he would not have made it through that first night after surgery.

Miracles happen everywhere, everyday. From the day that Dale Mole and his wife decided to sell their home in Maryland and move to Nepal to the time he met little Rijan, God was in control. It is through these miracles that we are inspired and driven. It was through Mole’s encounter with little Rijan that has inspires Mole to work harder and more diligently at Scheer Memorial Hospital, because one life can make a difference.

 

Boilerplate:

Scheer Memorial Hospital opened as a one-room clinic in 1950 by Seventh-day Adventist physician, Stanley Sturges. Since that time, Loma Linda University graduates have continued to contribute their time and money so that the now 150-bed hospital can continue to provide hope and healthcare to the small village of Benepa, located near the capital city of Kathmandu.  

 

Photo Credit:

Portrait of Dr. Dale Mole curtesy of southpoledoc.wordpress.com