BAGABAG ISLAND, Papua New Guinea — The man with the lacerated hand
Yau was in the middle of a routine March morning of pruning in his garden when he accidentally made a large slice on his hand with a machete. The laceration went deep into his tissue, cutting a muscle and nearly reaching a tendon.
Without proper treatment, he risked painful infection. That would mean sailing two hours to the Madang hospital — an option he likely would not have been able to afford.
Yet with the nearest medical clinic more than two hours away on foot, Yau (who is in his 50s) apparently decided it wasn’t worth it to travel the distance for care. He decided to devise his own treatment scheme. He packed the wound with lime pounder — the kind locals consume when they chew betel nut — and covered it with a palm leaf. Then, he continued his daily chores.
Members of the YWAM Ships medical-volunteer crew — which sailed to Bagabag Island aboard the m/v PACIFIC LINK — were told about Yau’s condition by some of his friends. After hearing the story, the volunteers were hoping that he would show up for the clinics they were conducting not far from Yau’s village, but he never arrived. After ending their clinics for the day, the volunteers — led by clinic coordinator John Mark Wheeler — hopped on an inflatable motor boat and went in search of Yau in hopes of administering proper care.
A local resident led YWAM volunteers to Yau’s village. When Yau saw the medical team carrying their treatment kits, he was surprised and glad. It took the team about 90 minutes to clean Yau’s wound, apply sutures and bandage him up. He also received a tetanus shot and some antibiotics.
If the injury had occurred a few days later, the YWAM team would not have been there and Yau would have lived with substandard care. Now he’s on the mend, having the proper medication to ensure a steady and safe recovery.