Voices from the Field Julie Stone Get to know Julie

A Time of Transition

Published on May 13, 2024

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Dr. Mihiret praying for Rose prior to the child’s discharge.

Our transition to accepting international residents has gone well. To date, I’ve had the opportunity to work with four of the five new recruits. A recent stint on the in-patient service with one of our Ethiopian residents, Dr. Mihiret (whose name means “mercy” in Amharic), was very rewarding. Her knowledge base was quite impressive. Even more impressive was her eagerness to pray with patients. While working on the Adult Female Ward, we cared for Rose – a 6-year-old child – in overflow from Children’s Ward. The child came after having had two witnessed seizures. As her family did not have the finances to pursue the recommended work-up, we decided to empirically start an anti-convulsant while pursuing a head CT and EEG on an out-patient basis. Prior to Rose’s discharge, Dr. Mihiret prayed for our young charge, who thankfully remained well during her three days of in-patient observation.

In mid-April, I had an opportunity to take a resident to Banso Baptist Hospital for the purpose of teaching and supporting our staff there. The resident who accompanied me did his medical studies in French and so has found transitioning to an English curriculum to be somewhat daunting. It is nevertheless a challenge to which he has successfully risen. Working together during the week, there was opportunity to help Dr. Antoine refine the didactic presentations he had prepared for clinical staff.

Dr. Antoine making a presentation to the BBH clinical staff at a morning conference.

His second presentation, on interpretation of the Peripheral Blood Smear, was one to which laboratory staff were also invited. Including and recognizing the efforts of our laboratory colleagues is important, as we rely heavily on one another to provide care for patients. In this context, Dr. Antoine was able to emphasize the importance of doctors going to the lab to personally examine blood smears, urine specimens, and bodily fluids.

Together in the BBH Lab – examining the spinal fluid of a patient.

The emphasis on doctors visiting the lab was so appreciated and important. Mbingo is blessed with an excellent pathology department, run under the leadership of our pathologist, Dr. Richard Bardin. While residents often seek help from Dr. Bardin for complex or uncertain histologies, not many actually frequent the lab to examine specimens themselves. When doctors are posted following graduation, they invariably find familiarity with the lab to be a great help to their practice of medicine.

Last year, I reached the decision that the time has come to turn over the work of Program Director to another internist who has also served as an assistant Program Director. Dr. David Sunday is a CIMS graduate who has had additional training in Critical Care Medicine. In 2018, he departed for Vellore, India, where he spent a year training as an intensivist at the Christian Medical College and Hospital. David is currently the Director of our ICU and a very capable clinician and lecturer. With this transition in mind, it was suggested that Dr. Sunday should accompany the Mbingo missionaries to the biennial Medical Conference sponsored by the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA). The conference venue this year is Kos Island, Greece.

Dr. Sunday together with the Mbingo missionaries at the CMDA Conference. Dr. and Mrs. Bardin are at the far left, with Drs. Kaye and Keith Streatfeild center.

We arrived at the conference center on April 21 and have found it to be an academically enlightening and inspiring experience. This has allowed Dr. Sunday to interface with sub-specialists from various domains – some of whom have visited Mbingo in the past. My hope is that Dr. Sunday will use this opportunity to get reacquainted with many physicians who have helped us over the years while forging relationships with others who are keen to help hospitals in low-resource settings. We anticipate making the transition in leadership this July – after completing semiannual evaluations for the current group of residents. We have every confidence that Dr. Sunday will excel in his new role.

Julie Stone