After medical nightmare, parents of disabled child experience ‘God’s love in a faraway land’
A Kenyan minister and his wife say they have seen God’s hands at work — in Africa and the U.S. — since a medical mistake nearly claimed the life of their toddler son.
George Ochieng, who preaches for a Church of Christ in eastern Kenya, and his wife Juliet ask for prayers and funds as they care for 22-month-old Jayden George Ochieng, who has undergone surgery and months of therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.
The Church of Christ in Milton, Ma., has adopted the family since their arrival in the U.S. in October and is collecting funds for Jayden.
“Jayden has come a long way since coming to the United States,” his father said. “We believe that there is a purpose for our being here and that the story is not over yet for Jayden.”
The Ochiengs’ medical nightmare began in July 2011 at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. Jayden was an active, normal 18-month-old boy, but had developed sleep apnea. A Kenyan surgeon removed Jayden’s inflamed adenoids to help. The boy responded well to the treatment.
Before leaving the hospital, a nurse arrived to administer a routine antibiotic.
“Instead of giving the antibiotic, she gave a muscle relaxant by mistake, a drug used in the operating room when patients already have oxygen support,” George Ochieng said. “Jayden went into respiratory distress, was resuscitated and admitted in the ICU. As a result of the lack of oxygen to his brain, he suffered hypoxic brain injury. He was later transferred to the capital city, Nairobi, to the ICU of a larger hospital for critical care.”
Doctors in Nairobi told the Ochiengs that their son — formerly a happy, healthy, playful boy — would either die or spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state.
Church members across Kenya gave financial and spiritual support to the family, said Ebenezer Udofia, a member of the Nairobi Church of Christ Eastleigh. (See our recent feature on Udofia’s work in East Africa for Healing Hands International.)
“Every time the church meets, prayers are being offered on their behalf,” Udofia said.
The hospital responsible for the injury arranged for Jayden to see doctors at Spaulding in Boston. Neurologists in Boston told the family that the damage to Jayden’s brain was extensive. Don’t expect a miracle.
But the Ochiengs did. And now, after five months of intense therapy, they believe they’ve seen one.
The boy responds to voices, can push himself into a standing position, is beginning to reach for objects and is beginning to babble — an attempt to communicate, his parents hope. He also “lights up and smiles when he hears gospel songs,” his father said. “His eating is getting better every day — all things the doctors said he wouldn’t do.”
Following is an excerpt from a report the Ochiengs sent to supporters:
Jayden is a strong boy with a strong will to fight. God has worked in the life of this boy in amazing ways and has defied doctors’ reports every step of the way. When doctors said he would not live, God said NO, and he lived. We believe there is a purpose for which God spared his life. When doctors said he would spend three months in the ICU, God said NOT TRUE, and he was out in one week, when doctors said Kenya did not have the facilities for neuro-rehabilitation and Jayden’s fate was grim, God said THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY, and opened ways for Jayden to be brought to the United States for the care that he needed. When doctors (in Boston) said he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life and would only be able to breathe, God said NO, THAT IS NOT MY PLAN FOR JAYDEN; he defied odds and, three weeks later, pushed himself up on his feet and stood to the amazement of many.
It has been an amazing journey of God’s grace, faithfulness and God’s favor. We have known God’s love in a faraway land like we never imagined. God came ahead of us and prepared his people to be his hands and feet for us.
Jayden is due to be released from the Spaulding hospital in a few weeks. The team there has created a rehabilitation plan and recommends that the family remain in the U.S. for one year to enable Jayden “to regain as much of his lost milestones and reach the highest level of functionality that he can,” George Ochieng said. The hospital in Kenya that was paying Jayden’s medical bills has declined to take on the additional expenses, he added.
“We are in the process of raising funds to help cater for the costs of Jayden’s care here in the U.S.,” his father said.
Donations may be sent to the Church of Christ in Milton. See the church’s website for contact information. Please note “Jayden medical fund” on contributions.
FeedbackIt brings tears to my eyes to read my son’s story because as I read am reminded of the amazing love that God has shown us through this journey and the wonderful lessons of grace, love and the universal Christian love that he has shown us through His people. God is Real!Juliet Ochura-OchiengMarch, 13 2012These are the kinds of stories we need to read more of. God is good and so are his people. I pray that God will continue to heal Jayden and provide for the family.Renee ClarkMarch, 13 2012Our awesome God is in control of every step in Jayden”s life. Thanks George and Juliet, you are a very determined parents with a will and God is providing a way out always.Charles OgutuMarch, 13 2012Yes Juliet God is real! And your story and faith reminds me of it everyday. May God bless you and your familySasha Jean MercerMarch, 13 2012Beautiful!! God is so good!Frank JohnsonMarch, 14 2012I just saw this note from George Ochieng:
“After spending a total of 3 months in critical care and 5 months of inpatient intensive therapy (4 out of the 5 months battling C-diff and other related infections), Jayden has finally been discharged from the hospital! Thank you Lord! ‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:31, 32 NKJV). Thank you all for your prayers.”Erik TryggestadMarch, 16 2012Stay blessed! I know God has seen you through this very difficult time.
VVincent OkunguMay, 12 2012I am sorry Juliet! May Jayden fully recover from the terrible consequence of this unfortunate blunder. Poleni Sana!ObosiJune, 9 2012Indeed God has a good purpose for Jayden, He has not brought him this far for nothing. Jayden shall be a living testimony that miracles still exist.
God’s blessings.NancyAugust, 16 2012