Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Medical Mission Changes Their Lives They Find So Much to Give Ethiopia

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Medical Mission Changes Their Lives They Find So Much to Give Ethiopia

Article excerpt

MIAMI -- On their way back from a three-week medical mission to Ethiopia, Douglas Miller and Ann-Lynn Denker promised each other they would never complain about anything ever again.

After spending 14-hour days treating patients with bloody skin diseases, malaria, AIDS, malnutrition, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and various infections, the doctor and nurse team returned home with a profound love and respect for the Ethiopian people.

"They have so little and they need so much," said Miller, a doctor of internal medicine who left his practice to join Operation Abie.

He and Denker, a nurse at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, were the first Americans to volunteer for the Israel Aliyah Center and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

Etched in Miller's memory is the sight of a 5-year-old who died of meningitis or cerebral malaria.

"I thought of my own children and how lucky we are here," he said.

Denker also witnessed the death of a 6-month-old baby from meningitis and possibly malaria. But she also remembered saving lives, including that of a woman who was seven months pregnant.

"I'm sure they would have died without our intervention," Denker said.

The pregnant woman was treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics for meningitis. Tests also showed she had malaria.

The team was stationed in Waldia in the northern Welo province in clinics in Mersa, Kobo and Filakit, three small villages spread out in the mountains.

"It's a very exhilarating and very depressing country overwhelmed with problems," Miller said.

But he sometimes felt like he was in the mountains of Switzerland because of the beautiful landscape. He said he was also impressed by the people, mostly warm, friendly, family oriented farmers and herders who lived in wooden shacks.

Denker said the people were grateful for anything the team could do for them. …

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