STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Husband-wife doctor team turn tragedy into life-saving gift

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 1:20 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 1:20 PM

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: 32214

Reported Deaths: 1158
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather