Loaner for Medical Mission Survives Storm at Sea and Helps Physician Detect Ruptured Ectopic

Dree Stryker exams a patient with her mission colleague Nichol Krupp assisting.

While we design our products to perform at their optimum even under severe conditions, we sometimes forget just how severe those conditions can be. Dr. Audrey "Dree" Stryker of the IWISH (International Women & Infant Sustainable Healthcare) Foundation, recently reminded us. The following is excerpted from Dr. Stryker's email thanking SonoSite for a loaned ultrasound system:

This trip was on the island of LaGonave, off the coast of Haiti. The [NanoMaxx] machine went across to the island for 2+ hours in a boat that looked like the fishing boat that Jesus used ... in super rough weather. Three of our team got super sea sick, the guys were bailing water out of the bottom of the boat. Amazing. I had the machine wrapped in two ponchos under a tarp. Everything was soaked except "my baby" (which is what we call the ultrasound machine). We looked liked drowned rats when we arrived and went to work ... and the machine survived.

[Once on LaGonave] I diagnosed twins in a severely preeclamptic woman then delivered her by cesarean section. Another woman ended up with a cesarean for a 10-pound baby, oligohydramnios. Many fibroids were diagnosed and then removed by myomectomy or hysterectomy. Breast tumors and ovarian cysts were diagnosed with that machine and were subsequently surgically removed.

But the most dramatic use of that machine was when I was in clinic. My photographer called me emergently to the bedside of an acutely ill 23-year-old woman "who looked 9 months pregnant" and was dropped off on a sheet at the door of the hospital. We ran to the hospital, put the ultrasound on ... no intrauterine pregnancy ... abdomen full of "fluid" (which is why she looked so pregnant). I told the surgeon I thought she had a ruptured ectopic, but the family said she was on Depo-Provera for birth control. No time for a pregnancy test. Took her to the OR nearly dead ... pulse of 180, hardly a blood pressure. No general anesthesia ... only sedation ... hemoglobin of 4 preop!

Ruptured ectopic ... two liters of blood in her belly ... her family gave four units of blood ... I [feared] she would die on the table. But Haitians are amazing. That evening she was trying to pull her NG tube out, and this morning when I left she was walking the halls of the little hospital!

I really can't thank you enough.
Dr. Audrey Stryker

Of the accompanying photo, Dr. Stryker writes: "Imagine 110 degrees, humid, small room with a fan in the corner ... light on my head to do pelvic exams. We were so blessed to have fans on this trip."

Professional photographer Nichol Krupp, who often assists Dr. Stryker on her medical missions, took the below photo and provides the story behind it in her own words:

"This pre-eclamptic mother is about to have her twins delivered by Dr. Stryker, and SonoSite's machine was used to help Dr. Stryker diagnose the twins just before delivery. The mother had no idea she was about to have two more babies (Baby 10 and Baby 11) to add to her already large tribe! It was a brilliant success story and one of healing for our entire team—because we had lost a mother in delivery who looked just like her on our trip the year before. She, too, had been pregnant with twins. One of her twins had survived but the other had died, and then the mother passed the following morning. The surviving twin remained in my shirt, skin-to-skin, much of the day and every single night outside under the stars for the remainder of the week. So the successful delivery on our more recent trip of healthy twin babies and the mother's survival of her pre-eclamsia thanks to Dr. Stryker was a story of healing for us all. Beautiful!"

Copyright: Nichol Krupp Photography