Norfolk support helps flying doctors' vital work
Support from across Norfolk
has helped flying doctors Craig and Rae Oranmore-Brown
extend their vital lifeline of hope to more needy people cross Zambia
The Christian-based Mercy Flyers charity, run by former Norwich consultants Craig and Rae, has now been providing a flying doctor and surgical service to the poorest people in Zambia for over three years.
They have seen around 600 patients and operated on 463 of them over 18 hospital visits covering 7640 nautical miles in the air and 4918km by road.
Through the support of many people in Norfolk, a new runway was built at Zimba mission hospital, reducing a five-hour drive to a one-flight to that hospital where the couple are doing increasing amounts of work.
The Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital staff chose Mercy Flyers as their charity of the year for 2010 and donated various bits of medical kit including a portable ultrasound machine which has been replaced at the hospital. Dr Phillips, a consultant anaesthetist from the NNUH, went out to work with the charity twice during the year.
But more funds are still desperately needed to enable even more people to benefit from the service said Craig: “There are frequently times when we have very poor patients at the teaching hospital who can’t even afford to pay for an X-ray or simple investigations. Many times they have no money to get home so they stay in the ward for weeks with no way of getting back to their village. Some lie in their beds because they can’t afford £1.50 to buy a pair of crutches.
“Mercy Flyers uses donated funds to pay for these people to get the care they need or in some cases pays for a bus ticket for them to get home to their families again.
“Unfortunately, because we have to charge the patient the full cost of a medical evacuation flight, we were only called upon twice for this service this year. We would love to be able to help more patients if only we had a fund that we could dig into to discount these flights for patients.
“While doing a gynaecology surgery outreach at a mission hospital I was asked to see a lady who had been involved in a car accident and sustained a broken neck. We offered to fly her straight out to the central hospital for surgery as she was slowly becoming paralysed. Her family could not afford the flight so she went by road in a 4x4. This trip certainly completed the neck injury and I doubt she survived,” said Craig.