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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 40163

Reported Deaths: 1528
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12867789
Ramsey5066230
Dakota252494
Stearns244819
Anoka2328111
Nobles16766
Olmsted119617
Washington119040
Mower9722
Rice8628
Scott8034
Clay59838
Kandiyohi5841
Blue Earth5352
Wright5055
Carver4331
Todd4022
Sherburne3405
Lyon3312
Freeborn3020
Watonwan2420
Steele2401
Benton2283
St. Louis20316
Nicollet18712
Martin1715
Cottonwood1380
Goodhue1378
Winona13315
Le Sueur1171
Pine1110
Crow Wing10812
Chisago1031
Otter Tail1021
McLeod960
Dodge930
Carlton890
Polk863
Unassigned8438
Chippewa791
Isanti780
Waseca730
Itasca6812
Douglas670
Murray670
Pipestone664
Meeker621
Morrison611
Faribault600
Becker570
Jackson570
Sibley562
Pennington530
Beltrami410
Brown392
Renville372
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha340
Rock310
Yellow Medicine310
Fillmore300
Houston290
Swift251
Grant220
Norman210
Redwood210
Wilkin213
Cass192
Roseau190
Big Stone170
Koochiching171
Kanabec161
Wadena160
Aitkin150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln110
Clearwater100
Mahnomen101
Hubbard80
Stevens80
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33162

Reported Deaths: 740
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6990182
Woodbury328243
Black Hawk239759
Buena Vista172711
Johnson13848
Linn134183
Dallas133031
Marshall106819
Scott92610
Dubuque83422
Story8254
Pottawattamie78012
Wapello71231
Muscatine68344
Crawford6793
Sioux4930
Tama47829
Wright3891
Louisa36313
Plymouth3365
Jasper33217
Warren3001
Dickinson2853
Webster2844
Washington2489
Cerro Gordo2231
Hamilton1931
Boone1601
Clay1431
Clarke1403
Allamakee1354
Clinton1211
Mahaska11817
Shelby1180
Poweshiek1088
Carroll1041
Pocahontas1041
Bremer1027
Franklin990
Des Moines952
Emmet920
Henry903
Hardin880
Cedar851
Cherokee811
Taylor810
Monona770
Marion750
Floyd742
Benton721
Guthrie724
Jones680
Sac650
Osceola640
Iowa621
Jefferson620
Buchanan611
Butler602
Humboldt591
Calhoun582
Hancock571
Harrison560
Delaware541
Fayette540
Lee542
Madison512
Monroe517
Jackson480
Lyon480
Clayton473
Mills460
Palo Alto460
Mitchell430
Winneshiek430
Davis421
Grundy420
Kossuth390
Howard370
Union370
Lucas324
Winnebago310
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Cass270
Ida230
Unassigned220
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Worth210
Keokuk201
Page200
Adair160
Audubon161
Ringgold151
Decatur120
Montgomery112
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont80
Rochester
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 76°
Mason City
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Albert Lea
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Austin
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Charles City
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Cooler air finally filtering in, rain chance returns Saturday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Mental health resources available

Image

Dave 6:30 7/10 Wx

Image

Shooting investigation underway in Rochester

Image

Advice for safely starting school in the fall

Image

Racial Disparities Regarding Food Security

Image

George Floyd's Family Visits Rochester Mural

Image

Sean's 6pm Weather 7/9

Image

Differences between Covid-19 and other illness

Image

Virtual Thursdays Downtown

Image

Tutors needed in Rochester

Community Events