Husband-wife doctor team turn tragedy into life-saving gift across the world

A group of doctors from the St. Louis-area is doing incredible work in Africa.Led by a husband and wife team, ...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 8:35 AM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 8:35 AM

A group of doctors from the St. Louis-area is doing incredible work in Africa.

Led by a husband and wife team, they recently opened an intensive care unit at a rural hospital in Yendi, Ghana. Part of the reason why is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring.

Building 1441 is the intensive care unit named in honor of the 14 years and 41 days a boy named Cameron was alive. Tragically, he died in a four-wheeler crash in October 2016.

"He was the most bright, loving, his smile could make anyone happy. A dreamer. An amazing young kid," said Dr. Patricia Limpert about her nephew. "After his death, our whole thought was 'How can we bring his light to the world?'"

Cameron's aunt and uncle, both passionate about their volunteer work in Ghana, funded the building with Cameron in mind.

Dr. Patricia Limpert is a breast surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital. Her husband, Dr. Jonathan Limpert, is a general surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Washington, Missouri. A few years ago, they started taking medical mission trips with a group from Washington to Yendi. There, they found a single doctor, serving half a million people and a hospital with patients lying on mats on the floor during the busy malaria season, but they also saw something much deeper.

"I think more than anything, it's the people. Never in my life have I seen someone who has absolutely nothing, in our eyes they have nothing, but they are the happiest, most generous, most affectionate, most grateful people," said Dr. Patricia Limpert.

During their week-long trips, their team would do hundreds of operations and see thousands of patients, but they wanted to do more.

"What we've decided as a mission group is we want to do things that are sustainable. That, when we leave there after 10 days will continue until we come back," said Dr. Jonathan Limpert.

They talked with local leaders in Yendi to try and learn what the community really needed.

"This hospital sits very far from any referral center. So when they have someone who is critically ill, they typically die in transport. So the question was, 'What can we do to stabilize those patients?'" said Dr. Jonathan Limpert.

That's when they decided to fund the construction of the ICU.

"I think that's a new angle the world of missions has found to be key - to empower the local people. Give them just the resources they need. Keep the jobs there, keep the pride there. They built that. They can look at that and say they built that," said Dr. Jonathan Limpert.

Then, St. Louis-area healthcare companies and families helped outfit the ICU with real hospital beds, oxygen inlined into the wall, an EKG machine, ventilator, and much more.

They also set up a telemedicine platform with support from Mercy Virtual so doctors here in St. Louis and Washington can communicate with nurses and the doctor in Yendi when they need help using the new equipment.

"It's really neat to see how engaged, how empowered each person who comes through that building is. They have this hunger for knowledge, hunger for growth," said Dr. Patricia Limpert.

The ICU officially opened in January and it's already proven its worth. The most recent example is a mother of newborn twins, which were delivered by C-section. The mother developed post-partum hemorrhage. Because she was so ill, she needed the ventilator to breathe for her after a second operation. A local physician, Dr. Ayuba, contacted Dr. Jonathan Limpert from the operating room after the woman's second operation, desperate to get help with the ventilator. Dr. Limpert connected him to a team in the U.S., via the new telemedicine equipment, to get the ventilator on the correct settings for the patient. The team kept tabs on her by making several video calls back and forth until she was able to breathe on her own. The mother and her twins are now home and doing well.

As a mother to two children of her own, Dr. Patricia Limpert hopes stories like these teach her daughters what is really important.

"I hope more than anything they see yes, it's not just the people who look like us, it's not just the people who talk like us, it's not just the people who walk like us, it's anyone in the world deserves love just as much as anyone else," said Dr. Patricia Limpert.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98886

Reported Deaths: 2979
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
Rankin337280
Madison334190
Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
Lafayette221240
Lauderdale2078126
Bolivar187370
Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
Lowndes160858
Neshoba1599104
Panola151631
Sunflower149146
Leflore143882
Warren141850
Pontotoc130116
Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
Leake96538
Adams94937
Wayne91521
Pearl River91453
Prentiss88418
Marion87537
Itawamba85921
Alcorn83411
Covington83223
George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
Calhoun52912
Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44414
Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
Etowah357545
Calhoun356944
Morgan334929
Houston295421
Elmore273948
DeKalb246121
St. Clair237937
Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
Conecuh53811
Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 78°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 77°
Starkville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 75°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather