16 January 2013

DING - DONG... "Emergency medical team, report to A Ward immediately. Emergency medical team, report to A Ward immediately." 

16 simple words, yet so much impact.

Our entire crew was awakened last night by that overhead page, piped into all cabins, at 2:45am.  Immediately I heard my roommate rustling around, the door closing behind her just a few seconds later. Her footsteps faded as she hurried down the stairs outside our door, quickly followed by many other pairs of feet, leading to A Ward.

As I waited for the adrenaline surge at this announcement to fade, I laid in my bed and prayed a prayer echoed by hundreds of others the same time, from their beds.  God, please be with the Emergency Medical Team.  Please be with whatever patient is in distress.  Please guide the doctors, nurses, and caregivers to best handle the crisis.

When there's a page like that at 2:45 in the morning, you know it must be very serious.  As we are a floating hospital, there are always Ward nurses on duty and doctors on call, all hours.  Most problems are easily handled by those highly capable people.  In fact, this was the first EMT overhead page we've heard since I have been here; there was one while I was on board in Sierra Leone.

But while I was praying I was also reflecting on the fact that because of this incredible community that is a hospital, every single other Crew Member lying awake in their beds, or soothing their crying babies, or lovingly encouraging their children to go back to sleep; every one of them was praying the same prayers I was.  In that sleepy, confused, adrenaline-laden time, we were all united, under the same banner and purpose and calling.  For that, I am grateful.

The prayers were felt; the patient was rushed back into surgery, and is doing very well today.  All of the nurses, Emergency Team members, doctors, even the Receptionist who made the overhead page, worked in their calm confidence of their calling, knowledge, training, and trust in each other.

I am continually amazed by the incredible community of people I get to live and work with here on the Africa Mercy.  Thank you, EMT, the Surgical Staff who jumped in to their scrubs ready to work at 2:45 this morning, and thank you to everyone who prayed for this patient.  It makes a difference.



  1. Yes yes yes. So well written and true! You read my mind then said it better. I love that. - Catherine Murphy

  2. Wow, that's high praise coming from a writer!! thanks Catherine. :)


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