Child suffers mystery illness in Rwanda - working against the clock to secure life-saving treatment.

When Healix was notified of a child in Rwanda with a rapidly deteriorating mystery illness, we worked against the clock to secure life-saving treatment and piece together an evacuation plan, reacting to the constantly evolving situation. Our quick response meant a rapid transfer to a centre of excellence where he received specialist treatment, before being repatriated home with a Healix doctor to the UK, where he has since made a good recovery.

The whole story: Healix was notified that a two-year-old boy had been admitted to hospital with a mystery illness while travelling in Kigali, Rwanda with his parents. The case was immediately passed to one of our Healix doctors who telephoned the treating doctor in Rwanda. It was established that the boy had kidney failure and was getting worse. The cause of the illness was unknown and the treating hospital had limited facilities.

Within one hour of receiving notification of the case, an evacuation plan was prepared. Our medical team determined that the patient could be evacuated to the UK by air ambulance as long as his condition did not deteriorate. However, if he became too unstable to be flown home to the UK, then he would be moved to a facility in Kenya which has the best medical care in East Africa. We liaised with medical teams at both hospitals, in Kenya and in the UK, to warn them of the situation.

Within hours of receiving the case, an air ambulance was dispatched and a medical team was with the patient. Unfortunately the patient was deteriorating quickly and after discussion between the air ambulance team and our Healix doctor, it was decided to admit the patient to the hospital in Kenya. Immediately on arrival, the patient was given life-saving dialysis and medical tests that were unavailable in Rwanda. This ruled out malaria but confirmed a diagnosis of haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a condition that occurs when the small blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged and inflamed. He remained in intensive care for several days, during which time his progress was carefully monitored by the Healix doctors.

After a week his condition was stable, although he still required kidney dialysis. A Healix doctor flew to Kenya from London in order to accompany him home on a direct scheduled flight. He was then transferred by ambulance from the airport to a children’s hospital near his home where he had ongoing treatment for kidney failure. After just a few days, he was well enough to return home and is now back at school.

Find our more about our Medical Assistance and Air Ambulance & Medical Escort Repatriation services.