Screening potential patients! What is it? How does it work?

My new work family!

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement! Screening has been going well. It is a grueling and tedious process and there have been a few “kinks” to work out, but all in all things are going well! We have screened well over a few thousand potential patients these past two weeks. On average we allow anywhere from 250-350 patients inside the screening compound per day. Once inside the compound we take their temperature. This is part of screening for Ebola and Lassa Fever (click the link to learn more), which are concerns here in West Africa. Patients are then given a wristband and directed to another line just outside the entrance to the screening center building. (SEE PICTURE) There they are briefly pre-screened by a nurse to determine if their “condition” requires surgery.

Often times, patients come to these screening days, not knowing that Mercy Ships is a surgery ship. We are only able to assist them if their “condition” falls into one of our surgical specialties. For example, people come that have had a stroke or have pneumonia. Another common example is parents bring children with hydrocephalus. A condition in which there is an excessive amount of fluid surrounding the brain. Mercy Ships does not perform brain surgery or treat these other conditions (i.e. stroke & pneumonia). The purpose of surgical intervention aboard Mercy Ships is to restore or improve functionality.

The screening days very long and tedious. It is a trying day for everyone involved, but especially for our screening nurses. It’s so hard to tell someone we are unable to help him or her. And unfortunately, we end up having to turn away more than 50% of people. The need is overwhelming. I often think Jesus felt this way as he ministered to the same types of crowds in his day.

It’s at times like this that I feel an overwhelming sense of hopeless and my heart grieves for the people of impoverished nations. All I can do is pray and ask my heavenly Father for wisdom to know how to best help the people that He puts in my path and asks me to help.

In addition to screening, my admissions nurses and I have been working hard to get the admissions tent all cleaned, set up and decorated for the patients on Friday! That’s right, this Friday (September 9th) Admissions opens at 8am! We will begin the admission process with those patients that day. Then they will come back to the ship Sunday, September 11th and be escorted aboard the ship into the hospital. And Monday, September 12th they will have surgery! It is going to be a busy week as we finish cleaning the hospital and start training all the new nurses!

Here are a few praises & prayer points!



  • Admissions nurses are here!!
  • The admissions tent is set up and ready to go!
  • Screening is going well. Despite having to turn away so many people, we are still able to help a large number of people who would not be able to receive care if it weren’t for Mercy Ships.





  • Wisdom for the team leaders as we train the new nurses.
  • Patience, courage and strength as I lead my team of nurses and Daycrew (translators) when Admissions opens on Friday!
  • An overwhelming sense of peace and the Father’s presence to envelop the ship on the first day of surgery! (Monday, September 12th)

Thank you prayer warriors!!

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