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Untrained Missionary Defends Care of Children Who Died

Uganda nonprofit cared for the malnourished
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2019 2:40 PM CDT
Simon, a 2-year-old South Sudeanese refugee, is accompanied by his grandmother as he is treated for malnutrition in a camp in northern Uganda in 2017.   (AP Photo/Justin Lynch)

(Newser) – An American missionary is defending herself against allegations that she ran an unlicensed medical organization in Uganda that was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 children. The two women suing Renee Bach said they didn't realize she had no medical training until their children died. "Mistakes were made and lessons were learned, but mistakes and life lessons never resulted in the harm of any individual," Bach wrote in an email to NBC News. Bach concedes that 119 children died at Serving His Children, her nonprofit that treats malnourished children, between 2010 and December 2018. She founded the organization when she moved to the city of Jinja as a Christian missionary in 2009. Bach says she received a high school diploma after being home schooled, and has a CPR certificate but no medical degree.

Despite Bach's lack of training, former volunteers and documents obtained by NBC paint a picture of her as being involved in providing medical care to sick children, which Bach and her organization were not licensed to do. Bach says that was out of necessity: "I never intentionally put myself in a position to treat children for illnesses, or be involved medically." Her lawyer has said Bach "worked alongside Ugandan medical professionals," per CNN. "She learned skills to help provide assistance as necessary." A registered nurse who volunteered there said she became concerned when she saw that Bach didn't realize the danger of feeding malnourished children too much, too quickly. The nurse quit after a young girl went into anaphylactic shock after receiving a blood transfusion from Bach. The nurse knew Bach lacked medical training, but said "she had this presence about her that you kind of just believed that she knew." (Read more malnutrition stories.)

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