‘Everybody thought he was dead,’ but Galuwas lives

‘Everybody thought he was dead,’ but Galuwas lives

It was a cloudy Thursday evening early May 2023 at Lacor Hospital. In came rushing Galuwas Gai, a 14-year-old refugee from South Sudan. He is unconscious and is immediately rushed to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

For some reasons, Galuwas had been misdiagnosed and was being managed for malaria infection until a decision was made to refer him to Lacor due to his worsening condition. He is accompanied by his uncle and his father who came along with him two month’s ago from South Sudan and settled in Kiryangdongo as refugees.

The family is unable to access the free medical cover given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) because their registration is not yet formalised. And so with the help of his uncle and other refugees who are fairly settled in the country, Galuwas’ dad is able to cover the medical bills for his son, thanks to Lacor’s mission of providing the best quality care at the least cost that makes the ICU very affordable to the poor.

Under the careful watch of Dr. Dan Oriba Langoya, a Specialist Internal Medicine Physician in the department of internal medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Gai is stabilised and put on mechanical ventilation. A broad-spectrum antimicrobial is started as the team awaits lab results.

When the lab results finally arrived, Gai is diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, septic shock and metabolic acidosis. “It was an excellent decision by the doctors in Kiryandongo to refer him in time. This patient required ICU intervention,” says Dr. Dan. He is put on invasive synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation (SIMV) mode then further de-escalated to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mode. After a few days, and following successful spontaneous breathing trial, he was extubated from Life support.

As anticipated by the team, the boy developed acute kidney injury (AKI) which was promptly managed. The facility doesn’t have a CT scanner, as do nearby health facilities, to examine brain activities, so the team decides to use clinical examination findings and Lumbar puncture with Cerebrospinal fluid analysis to arrive at a diagnosis; Streptococcus Pneumonia Meningitis and Septic shock with Acute Kidney Injury .

After 5 days at ICU, Galuwas is finally out of danger and is off the mechanical ventilation, de-escalated care to General Internal Medicine ward, for continuous management. “Everybody thought he was dead,” says Guotleng, Gai’s uncle. “Some people never know Galuwas is alive. They don’t believe it when I show them the pictures. Maybe they’ll believe when they see him physically.”

And see him they would. Galuwas was discharged from Lacor Hospital a week after getting out of the ICU in good health. He’s able to resume his studies at Shalom Primary School in Bweyale where he is a P.2 pupil.

Galuwas comes from a family of 4 boys and 3 girls in Lero County, South Sudan. One of his brothers died in a crossfire as they we fleeing from their home. They live in a small piece of land in the refugee camp with no job for the father who is the bread winner.

“I thank Lacor Hospital for what they have done and I pray for the hospital to continue helping others,” says Galuwas’ father, beaming with joy at his son’s bedside. They don’t speak much English, but with the help of fellow countrymen, they are able to find their way around.

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