Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Tory, Emma, Tye, Claire, Levi, Josie, Jane and Ethan

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request: Broken C-ARM

Examining the machine.

Discussing the options...

One the items that is essential for our broad practice of orthopedic surgery at Tenwek is a 20 year old C-ARM (or fluoroscopy), an old workhorse that provides “real-time” x-rays in the operating room, and critical for certain cases such as hip fractures, and many pediatric fractures. Although heavy and cumbersome (being several generations old) and likely producing significantly more radiation than newer units, it has provided years of faithful service.

About every two months, the image becomes blurry, or the software will not boot properly, an indication of growing age, yet problems always correctable with a quick call to Mr. Ragut, our contracted technician, who, in a few hours, has the machine up and running perfectly again. This past week (about the 2 month mark since the last “event”), while in the middle of a tibial plateau fracture, the image froze on the computer screen. After trying our usual intra-operative troubling shooting methods (like restarting the machine) failed to correct the problem, we finished the case without fluoroscopy, and took the C-ARM out for a better look. Two visiting bio-med technologists examined it, and delivered news I did not expect nor welcome: the hard drive had failed, a permanent and fatal error, which, for a 20+ year old C-ARM, is bad news. The only solution to fix the problem (according to the technologists) is to find an identical hard drive on an identical unit somewhere in the world, a task akin to finding a needle is a haystack.

Thinking that perhaps the shorter term solution is to purchase a new unit in Nairobi (while trying to find this potentially elusive replacement hard drive for the old unit), I solicited quotes which, for me in our mission hospital context, redefined the term “sticker shock.” So I ask for your prayers that: (1) God would do a miracle and allow us to find a replacement hard drive for our current unit (OEC Diagnostics Model 9000 S/N 99-1290), and get it to Tenwek Hospital quickly, (2) God would provide a second C-ARM (either by purchase or via donation) for Tenwek to have as a backup or primary unit, and (3) God, in the meantime, would give wisdom in cases that normally require C-arm. God always seems to push us to the edge of our limits, so our trust in His provision increases. Accordingly, last night, a 12 year old boy was admitted with a femoral neck fracture (perhaps of all the cases that could benefit from having C-ARM, the ultimate).

We hold to God’s promises in scripture and greatly appreciate your prayers…and if you have any leads on a hard drive for a 20 year old OEC model C-arm, or a new or used C-arm, let me know! Thanks for all your prayers and support.


Unknown said...

We will be praying Dan! God will guide and provide. Keep up your faithful service.

Unknown said...

Danny - I have been doing a little looking on the internet and found a supplier (rad-mart-x-ray.com) in New York who has a couple of them. The price is $1746.98 (seems pricey to me, but I don't know). He said he can preload the image processing software on it, it we let him know what version.