Monday, October 13, 2014

Med-e-Vac from Mwadui

Many of you will remember that a week ago (last Sunday) Thys was not at all well. Johan took him to hospital at 6pm where the locum on duty diagnosed kidney stones. (Thys told him he'd had kidney stones before and thought it was this.) The doctor administered an injection for this problem. He also had a malaria test. I set the alarm for 2am and Grant went over to the Guest House, collected Thys and took him to the hospital as he had to have a second injection for the kidney stones eight hours later. They also told Grant that the malaria tests were positive. As I said last week, there is no 24hour medical pharmacy in Mwadui, so Grant came back home, collected meds I had and took them back to Thys. 

For the next two days, Grant took Thys for injections for his kidneys, I sent meals across to keep him eating (and so keep his sugar stable) and the other men popped in regularly to see if he was OK. On Wednesday morning Grant phoned me and said "Don't make breakfast for Thys. We have him on a drip in hospital!"

He'd steadily become worse, and Grant set the wheels in motion that day to do a Med-e-vac from Mwadui airstrip. Of course, the red-tape and other bureaucratic issues took all day to sort out. Eventually at 5pm the Flying Doctors contacted Grant, asked for co-ordinates and said they'd be arriving at 9am on Thursday.  Meanwhile I was on WA to Elize who told me which medication to pack for Thys, and which clothes would be best for him in hospital in Dar Es Salaam. I also found his other two mobile phones which I charged here at home and put them in his backpack. That night, Grant and I took dinner to Thys who had to spend the night in the hospital.  The sister had placed screens around his bed, which was under the ceiling fan, so I took photos of his private ward on my phone to send to Elize in SA.

Early next morning  Grant collected Thys from hospital and took him back to his flat to have a shower, and check that I'd packed the correct stuff in his bag. Then they fetched me at our gate and we drove to the airstrip. 
 A great send-off for a popular expat!

Although Thys opted to drive to the airstrip with us,
the Client ambulance was in attendance as well

Mwadui Air Terminal
 Arrivals and Departure Hall!
 The Client fire-engine was on standby as well
The plane flew over the strip towards town and turned around
It flew back over the airstrip, towards the mine and turned towards the landing strip
Grant, coordinator and arranger of the Med-e-vac checks the strip is clear for the landing
The pilot touched down and approached the end of the strip
 Colleagues watch as the flying doctor helps Thys into the plane
Grant walking off screen to meet the doctor who had Thys' medical report

Dr Leonard, our resident intern
Back in the plane's well-equipped cabin, Thys was being stabilized before take-off
 People popped their heads into the cabin and wished Thys well
And then it was time for the plane to take off

With dust swirling up around the aircraft, soon we could only hear the engines roaring...

And when we looked up the plane was gone! 

I took photos on my phone for Elize at the same time. 

Within two hours the plane had landed in Dar Es Salaam and by mid-afternoon Grant received a phone call from the Med-e-vac company in South Africa. Thys had been admitted and was being tended to. 

The doctors in Dar Es Salaam treated Thys for kidney pain (he'd not had kidney stones after all) and for his liver which had taken a beating through all this trauma.

On Friday night Elize sent me a WA. She had spoken to Thys on his mobile. He was tons better, his kidney and liver pains had abated and she said he sounded like his old self again. I passed the message on to Grant who advised HR and also the Client PR. 

On Sunday Thys phoned Grant to say that he was being discharged in the morning. HO in Dar will arrange his flight back to Mwanza on a commercial airline. He should be back on site - where Grant will have him on light duties only - by Wednesday.

A very successful Med-e-vac. Well done Grant!

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.



  1. so glad he got help and is feeling better, but i sure hope he'll be healthy going forward! good luck, thys!

  2. Thank God it turned out well! It is always a worry when people get sick and have to be flown off somewhere to be medically attended. Fortunately the client also seems well equipped for it's staff and you and Grant have such tender, helping hearts. God bless you both. xx

  3. great pictorial story of this story and i am so happy he is better... love all the pics of the plane and good job for all of you getting Thys where he needed to be


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