This quote from the official church web site explains a little about Neo-natal resuscitation and the goal that we have to save babies. This week it was our privilege to participate in a small way with this training. WOW! What an awesome experience it was!
We started for Bosnia as soon as our Sacrament Meeting was over, stopping in Zagreb on the way to pick up Tihana's, (our translator) passport. She had forgotten it and fortunately remembered before we got to the boarder. We brought her mother as well. A two-fold reason for this. Number 1, Tihana is a beautiful young lady, and it is important that if we are going to travel with her that her mother feels comfortable with us. We will start doing more travel when our budget rolls over in January and will need Tihana to go with us, how would you feel if two strange, old, people not of your faith wanted to take your daughter all over Croatia? Do you see the need for her to get to know us? Reason number two: We also wanted her to see what kind of work her daughter was doing, what kind of humanitarian things the church was doing and hopefully realize that we going about the Lord's work. I think we accomplished our goals by the time the trip was over.
We arrived in Bosnia just in time to check in to our hotel and then get up to the hospital to meet the other humanitarian couple from Serbia, the Doctors from Utah and 5 local Doctors from the Banya Luka Hospital. Immediately Dr. George Bennett and Doctor Eric Gerday took the 5 local Doctors and started training them to be the teachers for the next two days.
The Red Cross had brought in all the equipment, (they can get stuff through customs) and they had loaned us a van with the driver to come up from Sarajevo. The training lasted a couple of hours that night.
The next morning we started early for the hospital, all together there was 62 students to be trained. From all over Bosnia.. The Utah Doctors were going down for another training in Sarajevo which was much closer for some of the students, however, because of ethnic intolerance, they would rather travel a far distance than sit side by side in a class room that has people that are different than them. Makes me so grateful for the diversity that we enjoy in the United States, however imperfect, it's still amazing to me. Thank-You America! To be fair, however, in the United States we have not been involved in a recent civil conflict that has left deep scars on the population. We have had over 150 years since that has happen in our history. Give them time.
Doctor Bennett and Doctor Gerday taught the training for the next two days with the help of the Local Doctors. Marcia Bennett, Dr. Bennett's wife, is really the backbone to the whole operation. She makes all the arrangements, working with all the local people, the humanitarian couple in charge and all the travel arrangements. I just thought she was awesome, what a woman! She and her husband have been traveling all over the world for the last 6 years doing this. Those of you who have done international travel know how hard this is on a body. but all the doctors who work in this program are dedicated to saving lives and know that it is the work of Our Heavenly Father.
When the training was finished, we had a closing ceremony where each student was given a certificate of completion, each clinic or hospital that was involved received a training mannequin and equipment to train others at their facilities, they also receive equipment for their clinical maternity rooms. We heard from Dr. Bennett, the hospital general manager or principle, the minister of health for Bosnia, Jim and then Marcia Bennett presented each of the training Doctors with a pin from the American Pediatric Association . She also presented a beautiful picture of a new baby to the main Pediatric Doctor in Banya Luka Hospital. It was beautiful and the Doctor was very touched by the gift. Did I tell you Marcia was amazing? Of course Jim cried as he told them how grateful he was for each on of our eight children and twenty grandchildren and what a tragedy it would have been in our lives to have lost even one of them. One is too many if it is YOUR child. One more little thought before I close, Dr. Bennett made me understand one important thing about this program. ...Death is not the real tragedy, mental and physical disabilities due to lack of oxygen at birth are the real tragedies. A whole lifetime of tragedy, for the child, for parents, siblings, and grandparents.
I had this thought drilled home this week-end, Jim and I were at the grocery store across the street and saw a little grandma and grandpa struggling to get a disabled teenager up a flight of stairs, He weighed about 80 lbs, Jim asked if he could help. And a minute later he had the boy swooped up in his arms and carried him up two flights of stairs. In broken English we learned from the grandmother that the boys name was Marco, he was 15. Father died 5 years ago of cancer and left him in the care of his aging grandparents, No mother was ever mentioned so we aren't sure about her. We told her that the Red Cross was receiving 250 wheelchairs in the next couple of weeks, we could see that they got one for her grandson. As she repeated what we said to her 85 year old husband, she and grandfather both with tears of relief said Thank-you, thank-you , thank-you! We have had no money for a chair. Could these doctors who spend their time training neo-natal resuscitation be doing anything more important with their retirement time? I hope you see my point. They know what Pure Religion is. If just one family like this one can benefit from this life saving procedure their time is well spent.
|Our teaching patients. We had eight tables for the students to each get hands-on training.|
|Dr. Bennett teaching at one of the tables. He is the one with white hair. From Farmington, Utah.|
|The lady on my left is a doctor from one of the small clinics in Bosnia. The other two are nurses at the same clinic. They deliver an average of 1600 babies a year! They have an anesthesiologist on staff, but other than that, they do it all!|
|Banja Luka looking over the valley from the hospital.|
|Our 62 students eager to learn!|
Marcia Bennett giving the Local Doctors their pins from the American Pediatric Society.