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Rotary club comes to dengue suffer's aid

Ray Lewis' daughter Justine received much-needed help thanks to the efforts of a Rotary club in Chiang Mai after being struck down with dengue fever.

ELAINE COONEY December 26, 2013 4:43am

Justine Lewis received treatment at a Thailand hospital after contracting dengue fever.


Rochester Rotary member Ray Lewis learned the true meaning of belonging to the international club last month.

His 30-year-old daughter Justine was travelling in north Thailand when she was struck down with dengue fever.

She sent a text message to her father telling him she was in the hospital.

‘‘We were very concerned about her,’’ Mr Lewis said.

‘‘She didn’t speak Thai and communication was a serious problem at the hospital.’’

He did not know the level of health care available in Thailand so hoped she was being cared for properly.

Mr Lewis knew Justine was suffering fevers but wanted more information about her condition.

‘‘I Googled Rotary clubs in Chiang Mai and emailed Rotary Club of Chiang Mai for help,’’ he said.

Within half an hour, secretary Kittipop Polsa replied.

Mr Lewis obtained the name of the hospital from his daughter and emailed Mr Polsa.

‘‘He spoke good English and happened to be a pharmacist, so we struck it lucky,’’ he said.

‘‘He knew the hospital and some staff at the Lanna Hospital.’’

Mr Polsa put the Lewis family’s minds at ease by telling them Justine was in safe hands at a university hospital.

He was able to translate the complex medical jargon and Mr Lewis learned from a test that Justine’s platelets were dropping rapidly from the fever.

Mr Lewis said they dropped rapidly to 30,000 and, if they hit 25,000, she would require a blood transfusion.

He learned her vital organs were in overdrive.

Mr Lewis jumped on the next plane to go to his daughter who was recovering when he arrived.

She remained in hospital for another week and was transferred by a low altitude plane to a hospital in Bangkok for further treatment.

They left Thailand together and Justine is almost back to full health.

Mr Lewis said he was very grateful for the Mr Polsa’s help.

He did not meet him in person, but will never forget his assistance in this time of need.

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