Flying Mission Zambia (FMZ) has placed Phil Smith and his family at Chitokoloki Mission with a Cessna 206, to serve the Church and Mission in that area. When Chief Pilot Dave Lott was checking Phil out on airstrips in the North West Province, neither had any idea that very soon they were going to be used significantly by God. Phil’s first Air Ambulance flight for FMZ saved Gladys, a 16-year-old girl.
Within 10 minutes of landing, they received news from Gordon Hanna (the administrator of Chitokoloki Mission) that a girl at Zambezi was critically ill and in desperate need of a mercy flight to the hospital. 15 minutes after landing, the plane was again airborne, now with a nurse onboard. 25 minutes later they were back at Chitokoloki with the young patient who was taken directly into theatre.
Gladys had been on the road when a large branch of a tree fell onto her, causing her to fall, rupturing her spleen. She then had to endure a 2-hour drive from the Dipalata Clinic to Zambezi, which undoubtedly caused her more damage. From there she was taken by plane to Chitokoloki.
The nurse who assisted was very concerned for the girl’s life. She gave only a 25% chance of survival, and also commented that if she had been driven all the way, she would not have survived the journey.
Paperwork has been submitted to build an airstrip at the Dipalata Clinic, to minimise the road travel of patients. This would have been ideal in Gladys’ case, and I am sure will prove life saving in the future!
On arrival at Chitokoloki, the medics worked on her all afternoon. Surgery lasted 4 hours, during which her spleen was removed and she underwent 3 blood transfusions. Finally at 7:00pm news arrived that she was doing well, and the surgery had been a success.
Gladys is recovering well, and only one week after surgery she was able to not only sit and stand, but also walk a little! Praise God! It is evident that God’s hand was over this situation, in that:
– The plane had just become available.
– The surgical theatre was available, meaning that they could spend all afternoon just focusing and working on her! This is amazing as there are around 1,000 operations at Chitokoloki every year with only 1 doctor working full time at the hospital.
– Gladys is recovering well after the surgery even though the odds were stacked against her.
Only God can make the impossible possible and we praise and thank Him for all he does!!