One sunny day, an urgent call for a medical evacuation came through to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Papua New Guinea. The patient was in Pyarulama, a small village nestled amidst rugged terrain, an arduous two-day hike or a 12-minute flight away. A house had collapsed leaving a man called Nepao with serious injuries, including a broken leg and potential pelvic fracture.
Despite initial difficulties due to the MAF plane being occupied elsewhere, we managed to airlift Nepao to Kompiam. On arrival, he was unconscious but breathing, with signs of skull fracture, chest bruising and a broken leg. With the X-ray machine out of action, Dr Diana Zweijnenburg relied on an ultrasound to rule out collapsed lungs or internal bleeding.
Over the next few days, his condition worsened due to lung bruising from the impact of large stones and a wooden beam that had fallen on him during the collapse. With limited resources and staff unfamiliar with such critical care procedures, Dr Diana faced a daunting decision: should she intubate him and put him on a ventilator until his lungs healed?
After seeking the family’s consent and gathering all necessary equipment, the medical team prayed for guidance and strength. Then, with bated breaths, they intubated Nepao. To everyone’s relief, his oxygen saturation rose to over 95%.
Over the next few days, many challenges arose, including equipment shortages and staff unfamiliarity with critical care protocols. However, the team at Kompiam Hospital demonstrated resilience and adaptability at every step, training each other on monitoring vital signs and managing potential complications.
Five days into his treatment, Dr Diana attempted to remove his breathing tube but had to delay due to his weak response. Two days later, after another round of prayers for divine intervention, she tried again. This time he started breathing on his own and gradually improved.
As Nepao regained consciousness and began interacting with his family again, the medical team saw first-hand the power of faith and medical intervention working hand-in-hand.
Two months after the accident, MAF repatriated Nepao back to his village. Expressing his thanks, he said, ‘It was through MAF that I was airlifted to the hospital and through the work of all the doctors at the hospital – may God bless their hands – that I am now well again.’
This experience has reminded us of God’s healing power at work through MAF’s medevac flights. It also underscores our hope for Pyarulama - that people will find salvation in Jesus Christ who sustains us all.
If you want to help MAF continue to serve the most vulnerable people please donate, you can find out how to do this by visiting www.maf-uk.org.