Jonah had a very rough day today. As planned, we took him to the operating room for surgery. Depending on how things went, we were contemplating one big surgery, or splitting it into two different operations, one on the front of his spine, and one from the back. The surgery from the front will take the pressure off of his damaged spinal cord, hopefully allowing recovery of his paralysis. The surgery from the back will stabilize the bones that have been destroyed by infection.
He was put under general anesthesia, and positioned on his stomach so we could begin the operation on his back. As the skin incision was made, however, his blood pressure and heart rate dropped dangerously low. After quickly stitching up the skin incision, we got him lying on his back again, and his blood pressure stabilized. It appeared that positioning him on his stomach had caused the large abscess in his chest to press against the heart. We decided to try positioning him on his side, to allow the surgery on the front of his spine, through the chest cavity. Our hope was that if we could quickly open his chest and remove the pus from behind his heart, his blood pressure would stabilize. Unfortunately, as soon as we positioned him on his side, his blood pressure dropped again.
At that point, we woke him up from anesthesia without doing the surgery. He’s doing fine, in no pain, and his blood pressure and heart rate are normal again. He’s in no immediate danger.
The problem is, he won’t live long without the surgery, but the surgery itself could be very dangerous or even fatal. I’ve been in contact with the kind woman who sent Jonah here, and she’s been in contact with Jonah’s parents.
They have already had to make the terribly difficult decision to send him here, realizing he had no hope in Samburu. They would like us to go ahead with the surgery, knowing the risks involved.
So Jonah needs your prayers. The pediatricians and internists are evaluating him thoroughly again, seeing if there’s anything that can be done to help him tolerate the surgery. We don’t have a definite plan, but tentatively are planning on returning to surgery on Friday.