healing the invisible scars…

Posted in: Articles, by Rachel Purdy, on 26th February 2015 | Comments Off on healing the invisible scars…

“They told me I was fine and free to go” said John, grimacing as he spoke, his face, covered in scars and stitches, his left eye distorted in shape, weeping continuously, his right ear, missing. IMG_20150214_080951

The Bridge2Aid training team met John in Tarime during the programme being carried out at Sirari health centre, close to the Kenyan border. He was still experiencing pain after his recent accident; four months ago, a wayward driver had hit him as he walked along the road.

The driver of the car had paid for John’s treatment and since being discharged from the regional hospital, John hasn’t been able to chew his food properly and it causes him pain when he does any activity – when he walks, talks, farms – anything. This is a problem generally, it would be agreed. IMG_20150214_081540However, when like most people in the rural areas the mere existence of his family and the education of his children depends on him being fit, healthy and able to grow the cassava, maize and bananas for food for the family and for sale, the fact that John could not eat properly or work on his farm meant that life for the whole family had become a real struggle.


John had been discharged from the regional hospital with a cracked mandible, a crack down the front of his jaw, causing the left and right side of his jaw to move independently of each other; his teeth were loose. A problem when diagnosed correctly requires a relatively simple procedure to fix…if, that is, the problem is identified in the first place. IMG_20150214_074834

John had been referred straight to a surgeon who promptly stitched his facial injuries up. At no had point had John seen anyone with any dental knowledge. If left untreated, a cracked mandible could lead to natural and misaligned fusing of the jaw bone, causing malfunctioning of the jaw and severe infection.

Had the Health Worker that initially saw John been trained in emergency dental care, the chances of his injuries being correctly identified and addressed would have meant that he would have avoided four months of pain and family struggles.

Bridge2Aid are now in contact with John and monitoring his treatment. John is one of the lucky ones.

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