Boston Doctor's Dramatic Surgery Aboard Mercy Ship
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Africa Mercy: Photo credit Mercy Ships

A volunteer surgeon from Boston saved a child’s life in an urgent and complex surgery performed onboard the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the 'Africa Mercy'.

Dr. Mark Shrime performed the surgery to remove a 'fist sized' tumor from the throat of a four-year-old boy who was slowly suffocating. It was performed in one of the five operating rooms on the hospital ship with a team of professional medical volunteers from five countries.

The surgeon had met the four-year-old boy named Emmanoel in Pointe Noir, Congo. When Emmanoel’s family got to the front of the line of over 7300 people who came seeking medical help from Mercy Ships, their son could hardly breathe.

Emmanoel was first diagnosed with malaria over two years ago. After antimalarials did nothing, his parents took him to a hospital in Kinshasa, Congo, where doctors discovered a tumor in Emmanoel's neck. It was slowly suffocating him, but they were unable to provide treatment.

His breathing slowly worsened until he began to lose consciousness up to three times a day. His mother initially brought him to the local hospital every time; eventually, she stopped. The boy’s father worked in the port of Pointe Noir and saw the Africa Mercy sail in.

“During the Africa Mercy’s 10-month stay in the port of Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo, Mercy Ships plans to provide over 3,300 surgeries for adult and child patients onboard, to treat more than 20,000 at land-based dental and eye clinics renovated for the purpose, and to provide holistic health care education to over 240 Congolese health care professionals and 830 community leaders,” stated Mercy Ships President/Founder Don Stephens.

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