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Compassion A World Away

Drs Calvert Hankins


Kelly Hankins is a medical student at University of North Carolina in the midst of her INMED service-learning at Kapuna Hospital in Papua New Guinea. “On my second day, a 13-year old boy came in with what was supposedly a two-week-old stingray injury-the tail had entered one side of his calf and come out the other. His leg was infected so badly you could smell it walking into the ward and we knew something had to be done immediately or the boy would lose his leg…I ended up removing a lot of dead tissue and opening up the leg a little bit to take pressure off of the muscle and blood vessels in the leg. We washed out the wound as best we could, packed it and bandaged the boy up.”


About a week later, Kelly recalls, “I was walking through the ward and saw him on the veranda in a wheelchair. I said hey to him and he smiled the biggest smile I had ever seen…That boy was living proof of the power of prayer…it took over when we reached our limits as humans and physicians.”


Stories like this are reminders of the impact that people in medical missions can have around the world. Kelly reflects, “My time in PNG was unquestionably life-changing. It was also incredibly humbling. Human life is such a gift…and I was able to witness the miracles of life, death, healing, human love and courage at their purest, without being confounded by the technology and frills of the society in which we live. I would love to be able to go back one day.”

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