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Samaher: Mother, Diabetic, Refugee

by User Not Found | Nov 18, 2016

There are 57,000 “persons of concern” in Greece - many are refugees fleeing conflict. Here is the story of one.

Meet Samaher. She is a 30 year old single mother from Syria. She is Muslim, has an 11 year old son, and lives at the refugee settlement with her family. She is also an insulin diabetic. Our teams have come to know her well, as she comes in every day to get new ice packs for her insulin.

Greece-Ashley-Volunteers-refugees
Medical volunteer Ashley acted quickly to help save Samaher's life.

One morning, Samaher’s nephew ran to the Medical Teams staff. Something was wrong - Samaher was in her tent and not responding. When our medical volunteer, Ashley, arrived she found Samaher in a dangerous diabetic state - “unresponsive, drooling and with a blood sugar of 21.” Normal blood sugar is higher than 80. This can be fatal without treatment. Ashley and her team had to act fast. The stakes were especially high. If something happened, it wasn’t just her life at stake - her child would be left orphaned, as well.

One team member rushed back to the clinic to call an ambulance and collect IV supplies. With the help of neighbors, the team loaded Samaher onto a blanket stretcher and carried her to the clinic. By the time they arrived, she was starting to seize. Acting quickly, Ashley showed Samaher’s brave nephew how to keep her airway open by lifting her chin, and she started an IV. Teamwork was needed to make sure Samaher stayed alive.

Ashley rode in the back of the ambulance, keeping Samaher safe as she was still confused and combative from low blood sugars and kept trying to pull out the IV.

As soon as she arrived at the hospital, they started Samaher on large doses of dextrose. Thankfully, she slowly started recovering. The next morning, they brought her back the clinic to teach her some critical ways to keep her diabetes in check -- the team emphasized the importance of always eating before taking insulin and that coffee with milk and sugar did not constitute a meal. These simple tricks could help save her life, especially in the challenging camp conditions where insulin can be hard to come by.

Life in Syrian refugee settlements can be hard and many struggle like Samaher. We are blessed to work with incredible volunteers who are working hard to provide primary care to mothers, refugees and families in need around the world.

Because of your support, our volunteers can help educate, treat and save the lives of people like Samaher.