While climbing a tree near his home, 5-year-old Ker Hardjorng slipped and fell roughly 12 feet to the ground. The fall rendered him unconscious, so his worried parents immediately began an 11-hour journey to Lao Friends Hospital for Children.
Ker remained unconscious for several hours during the trip. Upon the family’s arrival at LFHC, doctors noted that Kerr seemed semi-conscious and clearly had suffered a leg fracture.
Ker’s family is Khmu, the largest minority ethnic group in northern Laos. Fortunately, some LFHC staff members are Khmu and were available to serve as translators for the doctors and nurses.
The doctors ordered an emergency CT Scan, which showed a swelling of Ker’s brain and the presence of blood and fluid in the middle of the brain.
Ker was treated for his leg fracture and given medication to reduce his blood pressure and ease his pain, but there was doubt that he could survive the injuries. The LFHC team informed his parents about the severity of Ker’s condition. Some Lao families choose to take their sick or injured child home if the prognosis of recovery is grim. Ker’s family decided the LFHC was the best place for their son.
A few days later, Ker awakened in his hospital bed to find he couldn’t move his limbs on the left side of his body. He felt very disoriented and afraid.
During the subsequent month, doctors continued to treat Kerr and the physical therapy team worked very closely with him and his mother. The team helped Kerr gain strength and progress from wheelchair to crutches. They also helped him relearn to speak, write and count. The hospital’s nutrition team also worked with Kerr, who had to be fed through a nasogastric tube when he first arrived at LFHC. Gradually, Kerr was able to feed himself once again.
After a monthlong recovery at LFHC, Kerr waved goodbye to the staff as he walked out of the hospital with his grateful mother. He still returns for follow-up examinations and the staff is always happy to see him.