Photos from the Field

How Sutures from Global Links Help Save Lives

Surplus, sterile sutures that Global Links collects from US hospitals – a few packets not used in a procedure, or a few boxes not needed by surgical staff – are saving lives all over the world, as these surgeons in Madagascar are demonstrating. Click through the slideshow to see a few stories with happy endings -- made possible by the hospitals that donate their unexpired surplus suture to Global Links.

This baby in Malawi was delivered by c-section with suture from Global Links. When a woman in a developing country needs a c-section, there are no other options. And she cannot have a c-section if suture is not available.

These children had congenital cardiac defects repaired with suture from Global Links at a hospital in India. The hospital provides care for those who cannot pay, and the sutures Global Links provides help offset the cost of the expensive procedures.

The young Liberian woman shown here suffered many years from an obstetric fistula that developed when she delivered a child without adequate medical assistance. Fistulas, or holes between the vagina and bladder or rectum, result in constant incontinence, which causes not only discomfort, but also social isolation and health complications. Suture from Global Links was used in her reconstructive surgery.

This baby was delivered at a hospital in Papua New Guinea, but abandoned by her mother in the fear that she would bring bad luck to the family.

Luckily, the baby was adopted by a hospital employee, surgery with suture from Global Links repaired her cleft lip and palate, and here she is one year later.

At a hospital in Armenia, staff took the box of suture mailed from Global Links directly into the operating room. “The last set of sutures was exactly the same which we need in our surgery,” wrote the hospital administrator.

This man was shot in the chest, abdomen and right leg during a fight in Papua New Guinea. One of the pellets went through the heart, another into his stomach, and a few more broke bones in his right leg.

Three weeks after surgery using suture from Global Links, the patient can walk and his internal bleeding has stopped. “God forbid, if we cannot do surgery because of no appropriate sutures, it will be a disaster,” wrote his surgeon. “People might destroy the hospital . . . . If no donated sutures available then we have to get it by any means within our reach. The suture we get from Global Links is never available from the government-run central medical store.”