Let Everything That Has Breath

Last week, while our inpatient pediatrics team was talking over patients admitted overnight and doing our daily group devotionals, we decided to send an unusual letter to one of our patients. 

Usually when you receive a letter from your doctor, it’s about a bill or some lab results.  Perhaps with a label that marks it “URGENT” or “OPEN IMMEDIATELY.” 

This letter is not about the customary topics. And I don’t expect my patient to read it for several years.

This letter is addressed to Jayden, a baby in our NICU, who has not yet reached his third month of life. It is a brief testimony to God’s graciousness in his life.

I remember the morning I gave up on Jayden. 

He had come in septic with an intestinal malformation and was taken emergently to the OR.  At the end of the surgery his heart stopped, and in the process of resuscitating him one of his lungs popped, necessitating placement of a chest tube. 

He made it back to the NICU and we started him on IV nutrition and broad-spectrum antibiotics.  As a result of severe sepsis, he began bleeding from everywhere and required medicines to support his heart and blood pressure.  His lungs initially improved from the pneumothorax but then started becoming more and more inflamed. 

Despite maxing out the support we could give with a conventional ventilator strategy, we still could not get his oxygen saturations above 70%.  We don’t have the salvage options (which are available only at specialized centers even in the US) for a situation like this.

The ventilator he was on was one of the newer, donated models which has a mode that I thought I could try (there are only a few cases in the literature describing use of this setting on the ventilator machine for young babies, but it was the last option we had for Jayden).  To my surprise, it worked! Over the next three hours his saturations came up to the 90s as his lungs slowly opened up.

That night and the days that followed I was just waiting for that “999” to light up on my pager, emergently calling me to Jayden’s bedside because his heart had stopped again. I was dreading that page. Everything had to go right; a single setback would likely be fatal. If Jayden were to worsen, we didn’t have other options.

That page never came.

Instead, hour after hour, he hung on.  Day by day, he slowly improved.  His kidneys and liver recovered.  His bleeding stopped.  Days turned into weeks, his lungs showed improvement, and we were able to begin giving him milk by a feeding tube.  We weaned the sedating medicines and he started to wake up.

Over a month later, we were able to extubate him. He was breathing on his own! The next day his mother breastfed him for the first time.  Now he’s been off the ventilator for two weeks and is almost ready to go home.

So, we decided to write him this letter. A letter to future Jayden sharing all the things God did for him before he was ever aware.

This is also a letter to you ~ to all those who helped purchase the ventilators last year. Look what God has done! Thank you. These ventilators have been a huge help not just in the NICU, but in supporting patients of all ages throughout the hospital.

We have another equipment need that we’ll be featuring on our “Wish List” for the end of 2022. I’ll be sending out details soon, but for those who would like to contribute now you can jumpstart the giving at https://www.wgm.org/project/pediatric-projects-and-equipment .



Praise the LORD!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

Praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

Praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;

Praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

Praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!

Psalm 150

5 thoughts on “Let Everything That Has Breath

  1. Clark! You are brilliant!! Always have been since the first day we met!! Those babies are so lucky to have you – I know God is truly working through you and your family! This story is just one example.


  2. What a remarkable story. God is always present in our lives and even that tiny baby. God Bless you and the team of others who put their trust and faith in the hands of God so that he can work miracles like this one thru you.


  3. Amazing story!!! Thanks for sharing this. What a great message of impact to those who have partnered with you financially and in prayer.

    Grateful for the work you and your team are doing there, and for the eternal impact you are having.

    Blessings, Doug

    Get Outlook for iOShttps://aka.ms/o0ukef ________________________________


  4. Clark and Val,
    You are a special team who abide in God’s word and follow His precepts. Your efforts in Tenwek are nothing short of miraculous. May God continue to bless you and your family richly.
    Warm Wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.


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