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Central Sulawesi: A difficulty we have encountered, is the distrust of modern medicine and the preference for traditional healers. In one case for example, a traditional healer 'massaged a complete transverse femur fracture' and convinced the patient that he would be fine. We are learning that this in fact is going to be one of our biggest challenges to overcome here in Sulawesi. It’s one thing to be able to access the injured in places where nobody else can access, and to then have the ability to transport them on foot back to hospital care which nobody else can do - but what do you do when you get there, and they refuse to take the care that you've painstakingly worked hard to make available to them?

Here is Faldo who is 6yrs old. He is from a village south of Palu called Maranata. Our friends from HART, Burke Bryant and Ryan Bartholomew found him as one of multiple casualties discovered in Maranata on Sunday. We went on Monday and we discovered whilst treating, that there was a huge mistrust of doctors and hospitals amongst the villagers and fear at the mention of any kind of operation or surgery.

Faldo had an arm fracture that we knew could be rectified easily with an operation. After a long period of negotiation, we managed to convince Faldo’s parents to come with us for further assessment. We managed to transport them and get Faldo into the floating hospital quickly, where they were advised that they needed surgery immediately.

But Faldo’s mother refused.

Utterly heart-wrenching - not only after all the physical effort, the long negotiations at the floating hospital between the Navy Doctors, ourselves and the family but also just the frustration - without surgery his arm would never ever regain full function and it wasn't difficult surgery that he required. Not right to get this far and be unable to help this beautiful 6yr old boy live as normal a life as possible after surviving an enormously traumatic experience.

The Navy Doctors put a cast on and we took him home.

Unable to settle for this as an outcome we kept discussing it with those we met and their colleagues and wonderfully, through our friends at Project Karma we met an interpreter by the name of Regina.

Regina understands the fears better and has a little more clout than us when it comes to negotiating. She sat with Faldo’s mother for over an hour doing all she could to convince her whilst we nervously tended to other patients within earshot, hoping for the answer we wanted...

Happy to say that here we are en route to the Hospital with Faldo right now as I write this.

Stay tuned for our next update.

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