Nurse in Colorado helps coworker in Africa save baby’s life

July 10, 2018 11:18 am Last Updated: July 10, 2018 11:18 am

It’s a nurse’s job to be on call to help patients in need—but sometimes that call can come from the most unexpected places.

That’s the story of one Colorado nurse who, despite having some obstacles in her way, stepped up to help save a child’s life.

Kara Muma, a neonatal nurse practitioner, was working at Sky Ridge Medical Center recently when she received an unexpected phone call. 

It was from a fellow nurse, who was having trouble with a newborn baby.

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Madeline Anderson was on the other end of the line, asking her colleague for help. Muma assumed that she was in the same building.

“When I answered she said we’re having trouble with this baby and I’m thinking ‘What kind of trouble, what’s going on?’” Muma told CBS Denver. “She says ‘Well, we are having to resuscitate it.’

“I thought, ‘Where are you in the hospital?”

But it turned out, she wasn’t anywhere she could get to—this was a long-distance call.

Anderson was calling from Africa.

The nurse was on a medical mission trip on the other side of the world, and had just delivered a newborn boy who was struggling to breathe.

“I thought OK, we have to do everything we can and we have to save this baby,” Anderson said.

But she was working with limited medical equipment, and after several unsuccessful attempts she decided to reach out to the hospital for help.

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“Finally, I had the idea, I have the phone number memorized for my unit back at Sky Ridge,” Anderson recalled.

She had some difficulty making the long-distance call and connecting to the right person, but finally got through to Muma, who accepted the unusual challenge.

“You go into that other side of the thinking: ‘Let’s go, let’s figure it out,” Muma said.

Luckily, they heard each other loud and clear: “The connection was great,” she said. “I don’t know how it was great … but it was.”

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Through an hour-long phone call, Muma advised Anderson to intubate the newborn and place him on an adult ventilator, making do with one of the few medical supplies available.

Miraculously, the baby survived, thanks to that long-distance call.

He was in fine health and sent home just a few days later. The parents even named the boy “Madeline” after Anderson.

(CBS Denver/Screenshot)

Anderson’s experiences working in Africa inspired her to start her own nonprofit, Mama Packs for Kenya, which gives supplies to new mothers in the country.

As the story shows, sometimes there are no borders when it comes to healthcare, and even someone across the world can make a life-saving difference.

(CBS Denver/Screenshot)