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The Best Hands: Hands in Ghana Series

July 12, 2017
by Sheila Leech

Sheila Leech, Vice President of International Healthcare for Reach Beyond and a team leader for the 2017 Ghana medical internship, shares a series of stories from the experiences there. This is one of them.

Dr. Marcos Nelson sidled up and asked me in a low voice to accompany him in a patient examination. He said he wanted an "older more mature nurse" alongside. I guess I fit that bill.

We went into the dimly lit back room of the school in which we were using to hold our clinic. A middle-aged woman was sitting down with an anxious look on her face. As she lay down on the rough wooden bench, which served as an examination couch, I detected sadness and fear in her eyes. Marcos explained that Georgina, as the lady was called, had discovered a lump in her breast a year ago which was growing and which she was concerned about.

It did not take more than a minute to locate and palpate a significant mass in her left breast. In the "developed world" such a discovery is alarming even with all the treatment options available, but out in rural Ghana with little access to any health care at all, such a discovery can be devastating.

What to do? Where to be treated? Where to find the finances necessary to get a good diagnosis and treatment plan? These are questions which have to be asked and answered.

As I looked at Georgina I could see that she knew this could be serious. Her eyes glistened with tears. While Dr. Marcos wrote a referral to a hospital in Accra the capital city, I offered to pray with Georgina and she gladly accepted. She broke down and wept as I asked for Gods healing touch, His provision, His help and His peace for Georgina.

As an "older more mature nurse", I never get used to the feeling of helplessness in these situations, I never get over the frustration because of the limits on what we can offer to these dear folks and I must never forget that I serve an all-powerful God who is able to do everything that I can not do - in fact, exceedingly abundantly above all that I can even think or do. So I need to learn to leave Georgina- and so many others like her- in the best hands. God’s hands.