Escaping Death and Finding New Life in Christ

January 25, 2018 • Honduras
Drs. Isaac and Anne Hotz serve at Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras.
Dr. Isaac Hotz specializes in family medicine and surgical obstetrics. He and his wife Anne began serving at Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras in 2015 through World Medical Mission’s Post-Residency Program and now serve there long term.

As her face turned suddenly cyanotic, her last breaths approached and she lost consciousness. Stella was already on the maximum amount of oxygen we could give her.

I was not facing this moment as a life-saving, Third World missionary doctor who wanted to “save the day.” In fact, I wanted to run from the moment. I didn’t want to make the decision being thrust upon me in the middle of the night. Should I intubate her and connect her to life support?

Dr. Hotz cares for a patient in Honduras.

Dr. Hotz cares for a patient in Honduras.

Stella, 58, was a patient at Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras and experiencing multi-organ failure. Her kidneys were failing and she was septic. She had developed an arterial clot in one of her legs which was pulseless and cold and her toes were black due to necrosis. We were concerned that the sepsis might have caused a heart attack and subsequent heart failure. Stella was also in respiratory failure.

She was not stable enough for us to amputate below the knee, and even if we removed the infection source, I didn’t know if Stella would stabilize. She was on multiple IV antibiotics and getting worse.

In order to buy myself time to think, I ran to the operating room and quickly grabbed what I needed to intubate her. I prayed to God that I would not have to use the very things I was collecting. I still hadn’t made a decision on whether to use them and desperately wanted the Lord to guide my decision.

Stella was barely alive when I returned to the room. I saw the Bipap machine next to her. We had tried a Bipap machine earlier, and although it hadn’t helped her, I thought I would give it another chance. Stella improved within about a minute of breathing on the machine.

Her husband watched everything unfold. He stepped out of the room at one point. I think he saw what both of us thought was inevitable—death. When Stella recovered, neither of us could believe our eyes.

Stella gradually improved. She stabilized enough that we were able to amputate her dead lower leg and remove the infection source. Stella subsequently improved rapidly, weaned off oxygen completely, and her multiple organ failure resolved.

A Spiritual Rebirth

I talked with Stella the night before she was discharged. I needed to make it clear to her that it was the Lord who saved her and not anyone at our hospital.

Stella and her husband

Stella and her husband

Stella told me that the day she almost died was also the day she was born spiritually. I was a bit taken aback.

“You told me you knew Jesus when you arrived at the hospital,” I said.

Stella smiled. “Yes, doctor, but I only knew Him a little,” she said. “Now, I know Him.”

As we sat there, I told her I had prayed that the Lord who had saved her body would also save her soul. I told her that the Bipap machine that saved her life was donated a few months ago. I think it’s very possible that Stella wouldn’t be alive today had that machine not been available. The Lord had provided what we needed.

Did the people who donated the machine know it would save a life? Did they know that someone’s eternity might be changed? It doesn’t always take a lot of sacrifice to make a big difference. If the Lord honors it, abundant blessings will come.

Support a Missionary Doctor
Post-Residency Program The World Medical Mission Post-Residency Program is a fully funded two-year program for Christian physicians and their families who have been called to medical missions. Following their residency, doctors are placed at a mission hospital to serve within their specialty alongside career medical missionaries. We provide logistical and financial support to these young men and women as they treat patients and share the love of Jesus Christ.

Post-Residency Program 013765