March 12, 2012
The Official Story
by Dwayne Harris
It was Wednesday noon- I had just arrived home for lunch after having negotiated all morning for a piece of equipment that could unload 5 shipping containers that were to be arriving at our hanger construction site in the morning. I was heating food up for lunch when I heard a knock on the outer door of the house we live in. It was the neighbor from across the street and he told me to call the police because the house one down from ours was being robbed. I had the phone number for the local police station in my phone from January when we had been robbed while gone over Christmas. I called the police number immediately and they said they would send some officers over right away. As I looked down the street I could see 4 or 5 guys down at the corner watching the house, and my neighbor and his friend were standing with me watching from the other way. I thought the residents of the house that was being burglarized were not home and I did not know till later that they had been tied up in the house at gunpoint. We heard some banging around and the watching neighborhood started to arm themselves with clubs and block off possible escape rountes. I walked down the street right in front of the house and saw three guys come out of the front door crouching down and head towards the back of the house. As the first two guys started to climb over the back wall they were surprised by the neighbors that started yelling at them. The two robbers then climbed onto the roof of the houses and started jumping from roof to roof of the neighboring, close houses. I ran down the street parralel to them to cut off their escape where they would have to come down. As I rounded the corner of the block the first robber was just jumping off the roof and when he hit the street I saw he was carrying a small 22 revolver. I was close at that point and he fired one shot into my face at a few feet distance. I grabbed his arm and the next shot missed me but as the struggle continued just before I threw him to the ground he fired one more shot that went into my chest. I proceeded to take the pistol away from him and threw it out into the middle of the street away from us and started calling for someone to help me hold the guy down. The neighbor from across the street came around the corner with a big rock in his hands and proceeded to throw the rock against the guys head. I released my hold on the robber and he did not get up for a few moments. I yelled at Bob, a short-term volunteer with us from Kansas, to get the truck out and take me to the hospital. By this time the robber that had shot me was getting back up. There were half a dozen men from the neighborhood standing there with clubs and they knocked the guy down again. He got back up and proceeded a few more steps and then collapsed. Sure that the robber would not escape, I walked back down to our house where Bob was getting the truck ready and two police men were coming down the street towards us. I pointed them to the end of the block and climbed into the truck while Bob locked up the house. I called Wendy and told her to meet us at the CVAH Adventist hospital but she informed me she was just rounding the corner towards home so we stopped and she got in and we drove over to CVAH.
The Rest of the Story
by Wendy Harris
Around noon on Wednesday, March 7, I was heading home after taking care of some business in town. I called Dwayne with a quick question and learned that he was home. I told him I’d be home in a few minutes, thinking I could join him and Bob since they’d probably be eating their sack lunch at home before going out to the project. I remembered one more stop I had to make, and providentially I was delayed about half an hour, missing the whole drama that was going on unbeknownst to me, and saving me from witnessing the traumatic scene. I texted Dwayne that I had been delayed but I was on my way. As I was nearing home in a tric, I got a call from Dwayne that sent my heart beating. In a garbled voice he said “meet me at the hospital now”! I said “where are you, I’m almost home!” He told me they were just pulling out so as I round the corner and saw the truck coming my way, I jumped out, paid the tricycle, and ran and jumped in the back of the truck and we drove off towards the hospital. Dwayne was hunched over in the front, passenger seat with his hand under his mouth catching the blood while Bob drove.I could not get to Dwayne from the back of the truck but I leaned over the bar and tried to see his condition. He told me he had been shot in the face by robbers and Bob tried to explain what he knew of the situation.He said he was ok and his pulse felt strong and though his face was all bloody and his hand had a pool of blood, it didn’t look like it was continuing to bleed a lot, so I calmed down. It was just 15 minutes drive to the hospital. I texted a few doctor friends on the way (and at the same time other friends and family). I knew all the doctors were in a meeting because I had just been there earlier that morning. then so I didn’t call immediately. But when we got to the E.R. there was only one resident and I didn’t know her. Dwayne started to point to his chest and have trouble breathing. That’s when we found there was a bullet wound in his chest. I immediately started calling the doctors. They had just gotten my text and were shocked! They stopped to pray and then when they got my call they all came running to the E.R. Dwayne was starting to show signs of shock with a pale color and sweating. I started to get worried, but praise God it didn’t last long. As soon as the doctors arrived there was action everywhere and Dwayne was looking better already (I even have wondered if God was already answering the prayers that were being lifted up for him around the country as my text was being passed around like wild-fire). The ENT specialist for this area just “happened” to be around and was heading for the meeting when one of the doctors grabbed her in the hall and brought her to the E.R. The pulmonary specialist just “happened” to be on his way to the hospital and was only one hour away (he lives four hours away). They took Dwayne into surgery within an hour of his arrival (as best I can remember). The ENT surgery found the bullet had passed just in the right place so there was no major damage and had come within one centimeter of the spinal cord! By the time she was finished, the pulmonary specialist and assisting surgeons were able to continue the surgery into the chest. They found the bullet once again had come within one centimeter of hitting the main vessel in the heart and had only clipped the lungs. They placed a chest tube and drained 900cc of blood out of the chest cavity. They left the bullet where it had lodged in the tissue because there is no risk of infection or problems with it there. Three and a half hours later he was done with the surgery and I got the news that all was well! I wasn’t at all worried during the surgery or surprised at the news. I just felt everything was going to be ok. I was out doing errands during most of the surgery. The container vans for the hangar construction were supposed to arrive the next day and the truck drivers needed to be paid so Bob took me home and I grabbed some things at the house to stay in the hospital and then we went to the bank before heading back to the hospital. In ICU I found Dwayne with tubes all over the place. He could nod his head yes and no and was obviously completely coherent. He was weak and could only squeeze my hand a little but as the hours passed he rapidly gained strength. His vital signs stayed stable from the time he arrived in the hospital until now. That is another thing that kept me calm. We serve a very powerful and great God and everyone around here agrees that all the pieces of this story are not a coincidence. One thing I have learned through this experience (among many) is the power of intercessory prayer. As the news spread around the world, I was encouraged to know that many people were praying for Dwayne. We continue to feel the prayers as Dwayne’s recovery has been so smooth. We are so grateful to God and all of you, words cannot express. I hope that after this experience we all will learn to pray more and with more confidence and faith for people in need that God brings into our lives. To be continued. . .
Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS)