By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – North Mississippi Medical Center has received a colorful thank you from across the world.
The large sculptured canvas, which incorporates images of animals, Africa, houses and the Tree of Life, came to the Tupelo hospital in gratitude for the efforts to repair the leg of a man who helps run an orphanage connected with Global Outreach. The signatures of two dozen Rwandan orphans who helped create the masterpiece circle the artwork.
“It’s really important to them that this made it to the hospital,” said Tupelo orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jay White, who also serves on the board for the Tupelo-based international missions group.
Jean Baptiste NshiMyimana, who runs an orphanage founded by former Tupeloan and Global Outreach missionary Monique Ladosz, was injured in a car wreck two years ago. The injury – a fractured shin bone – didn’t heal properly, and doctors in Rwanda tried to shore up the bone with a metal plate and screws.
“It wasn’t enough to stabilize the bone,” White said. “He had to walk with crutches. He had a significant limp and pain with every step.”
Last September on a trip back to Tupelo, Ladosz brought the X-rays to White seeking help.
“If you can get him here, we’ll find a way to take care of him,” White told her.
White donated his services as a surgeon, the medical supply company donated the materials to repair his leg, and NMMC covered the remainder of the medical costs.
“Why wouldn’t you do it?” said Mike Denham, surgical services administrator.
In December, NshiMyimana arrived in Tupelo for surgery, which went well, although he did have an unrelated medical hiccup.
“I ended up treating malaria on Christmas Day,” White said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever treated malaria.”
By the end of January, NshiMyimana’s leg had healed, and he returned to Africa. Since the main modes of transportation are by foot or bicycle, being able to walk easily without pain is life changing.
“He’s finished his house and has been able to get married,” White said. “That’s been a blessing.”
The painting, created by an artist who works with NshiMyimana at the orphanage and several of the children, will hang in the surgeon’s lounge.
“They’re a very appreciative group of people,” White said.