Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

“Dogs are a waste of time.” I heard this comment several times in Uganda. Dogs are ever present in rural Uganda. The are all hounds and look pretty much the same – medium size, short haired, and thin – probably all descended from a common ancestor. Most people do not keep dogs as pets but may use them as guards for the homes. They are usually fed scraps and receive little care or attention.

Several years ago a young dog appeared at the clinic. She began to spend most of her days and nights there and became quite friendly. We named her Sunny because she was always so bright and alert, and everyone at the clinic were very fond of her. About a year later she gave birth to two pups. The pregnancy was very hard on her. She lost quite a bit of weight and was weak. We called on the vet to check on her and the pups. The vet gave Sunny an antibiotic shot and some medicine for parasites. The pups were also given shots. Sunny improved, but the pups were soon found dead. They seemed to be active and healthy, and their death was puzzling.

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Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

Joel age 10 came to the Cross Clinic in the spring of this year.He complained of weakness and shortness of breath. He was small for his age and had a loud heart murmur. His lips and fingernails had a bluish color. The ends of his fingers were clubbed, meaning they were enlarged with downward sloping of the nails like an upside down spoon. Also he was frequently found squatting when he was short of breath.

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Lou Zinterhofer

After growing up in Midland, Texas, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer moved to South Bend, Indiana, where he attended the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Louis Zinterhofer graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1963 and subsequently pursued his medical degree at the Tulane University School of Medicine. In addition to his education at Tulane, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer completed internships, externships, and residencies at the Aerospace Medicine Branch of NASA, Ochsner Foundation Hospital Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the University of California University Hospital. Following his post-graduate training, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer served in the Medical Corps of the United States Air Force at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1971 to 1973. In his final year of service, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer was awarded the Certificate of Meritorious Service. While working in the military, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer earned board certification in anatomic and clinical pathology.

Since 1973, Dr. Louis Zinterhofer has practiced as a pathologist at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Lou Zinterhofer & family at home by poolhouse


(Wife Susan & her mother, our kids Eric & Nina with their spouses and four grandchildren)

For me, at this stage of my life, this says it all.

All the best,


Suzan and Alupo Gracious

Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

Here are pictures of two children suffering from cancer. The were initially seen and evaluated at the Cross Clinic then referred to the cancer center in Kampala. Both have been operated.

Suzan is 8 years old and presented with a bulging left eye. Scans revealed a tumor behind the eye pushing it forward. The tumor was successfully removed, but there is still prominence of the eye. There are changes in the structure of the skull which will require additional surgery to correct. The most common eye tumor in children is called retinoblastoma. The prognosis is good with over 90% 5 year survival. Surgery is the basic treatment. Radiation and chemotherapy can be useful in difficult cases.

The other child Alupo Gracious is 2 years old. She had a tumor called ependymoma at the base of the brain. It was compressing her cerebellum and blocking drainage of fluid from around the brain. The surgery was difficult. She is going to be left with some neurological damage. The prognosis for this type of tumor is about 80% 5year survival. In this case the location of the tumor will result in a poorer outcome.

We have seen a number of children with cancer at the Cross Clinic. The most common types of malignancies we have seen are lymphoma, cancer of the kidney and liver, and tumors of the bone (osteogenic sarcoma). The prognosis for these tumors is generally good, much better than the results of the most common adult cancers such as lung, breast, colon, and pancreas.

Some generous people in Midland have contributed to a fund which will help pay for treatment of these children with cancer. The Cross Clinic hopes to continue to assist in the care and treatment of these children. Each one is deserving of our best efforts.

If you are able to donate, please send all tax deductible donations to:

First Presbyterian Church
800 West Texas St.
Midland, TX 79701
Please include: Dr. Bartha Uganda Fund in the memo

New Operating Room-Cross Clinic

Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

A new operating room, or theater as it is called in Uganda, was opened and dedicated at the Cross Clinic on September 9 of this year (2021). The medical and administrative staff of the clinic, the District Health Officer, the District Commissioner, and other local officials were present.

The facility is well constructed and supplied. There are two operating beds, an anesthesia machine, sterilizer,oxygen, running water, and a prep room for the surgeons. There is a post op area and a dedicated nursing staff to care for the patients. It is the best equipped theater in the general area. The surgeons working there are graduates of Ugandan medical schools and are well trained. I have financially assisted several of these physicians in their medical education.

The local officials were very impressed with the new theater and indicated that they may give some financial support in the future though this is doubtful. Currently most of the surgeries performed are for hernias, hemorrhoids, abscesses, and superficial tumors. We hope to be able soon to perform hysterectomies, treatment for osteomyelitis and complicated bone fractures, and cataracts. These services will be of great benefit for people in a wide area. We also plan to invite surgeons from the U.S. to come and volunteer their services at the facility.

I will stress that the theater was largely funded by generous Midlanders in cooperation with 1st Presbyterian Church of Midland.

Tax Deductible Donations to support Dr. Bartha and the Cross Clinic can be mailed to:

First Presbyterian Church
800 West Texas St.
Midland, TX 79701
Please include: Dr. Bartha Uganda Fund in the memo.

Dr. David Livingstone

Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

Another great inspirational figure in African history is Dr. David Livingstone.

 He was born in 1813 to a poor Scottish family. At age 10 he had to go to work in a cotton mill ten hours a day, but he attended night school and mastered Latin and Greek. At age 20 he resolved to become a missionary and devote his life to the alleviation of human misery.

 He attended college classes in Glasgow frequently walking the seven miles to school and back each day. Later he was accepted by the London Missionary Society. He completed his medical education then studied theology. He wanted to be sent to Asia, but there was political strife in China at that time, and he was posted to South Africa.

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Written by Dr Gregory Bartha

Most people in Uganda are of normal weight, and many are very thin. This is because their diet mainly consists of corn cassava, some beans, and occasionally chicken and pork. Also people tend to be very physically active doing a lot of walking and manual labor. Western style food is making some inroads in Kampala and the smaller cities, and along with this change comes more obesity and then diabetes.

This form of diabetes is termed Type 2 and can often be controlled by diet and oral medicines. Eventually insulin may be required. There is also Type 1 diabetes in which the body makes antibodies which attack and destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Insulin injections are necessary to control this type.

A 15 year old boy came to the Cross Hospital complaining of weakness, weight loss, and constant thirst. His blood sugar (glucose) level was 500, normal being 80 to 120. We told him that he had the form of diabetes which required insulin. He was reluctant to start the injections. We talked with him at length about the nature of his illness and that his health would continue to decline if he did not take insulin. He went home to think about it. A few days later he returned, and we admitted him to the hospital, started checking his glucose levels several times a day, and introduced insulin.

His treatment was challenging because in Uganda there are only two types of insulin available – a short acting kind which reduces the blood sugar rapidly and a mixture of the short acting and a long acting form which lasts i2 hours or more. Ideally patients with Type 1 should be given a long acting acting insulin by itself once a day and injections of short acting before meals. Using only the mixture does not control the blood sugar well and can cause the sugar level to go too low and cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness altogether. For this boy we gave him the mixed insulin twice daily and gradually got his sugar down to around 200 most of the time. Ideally it should be 150 or below most of the time. The boy started to feel much better with more energy and less thirst.

We gave the boy a glucose meter and strips and taught him how to check his sugar level and how to make adjustments in the insulin dose. We told him to keep good records of the glucose levels and the insulin dose. Also we emphasized that he must never run out of insulin. He would become very ill quickly. Fortunately insulin does not need to be refrigerated after a vial is opened, and the syringes and needles for injection can be used several times.

He needs to be checked regularly at the hospital so his records can be reviewed and adjustments in the insulin dose can be made. This program is very difficult to carry out in rural Uganda and requires the combined efforts of the family, the boy, and the hospital staff. This a lifetime work for this boy who also faces the many other challenges of life in rural Uganda.

Programs for Women and Girls

Written by Dr. Gregory Bartha

The Ugandan government has made women’s rights and employment opportunities a high priority. There is a national holiday to honor women. Women hold many high government offices including directorships of a number of ministries and the positions of Prime Minister and Vice President. The President’s wife is very active in government. Each of the districts in Uganda elects a woman member in Parliament in every  5 year election cycle.

Girls’ education is emphasized but there remain many obstacles in the rural villages – lack of parental support, early marriage, and poverty. Many girls leave school when they start to menstruate. They have no menstrual pads and are ashamed to show that they are bleeding.Pads which can be washed and reused for up to one year are made in Uganda. The organization I work with has purchased and distributed these pads to girls at school. The girls and the schools are very pleased with this program. Poverty also creates problems for girls. They may accept offers to trade sex for money to help their families. In the recent lockdown periods many girls have become pregnant. Some have tried to abort themselves resulting in miscarriages and serious infections.

I help to support a vocational school which serves young women who never advanced in their education because of early pregnancy. They are trained in hairdressing, tailoring, and early childhood development so they can be nursery school teachers. With these skills they can support themselves and their children. In addition I have provided scholarships for many girls to attend secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Clearly the greatest challenge to overcome is poverty.

Tax Deductible Donations to support Dr. Bartha and the Cross Clinic can be mailed to:

First Presbyterian Church
800 West Texas St.
Midland, TX 79701
Please include: Dr Bartha Uganda Fund in the memo.

Albert Schweitzer

Written by Gregory Bartha

In an earlier blog I mentioned that Albert Schweitzer was the inspiration for my work in Africa. He was born in 1875 near the border between France and Germany. There is a story that one day a boyhood friend invited him to go with him to shoot birds with a slingshot. Albert had to leave because he could not stand killing another living creature. He attended village schools and made a decision in late adolescence to someday go to Africa as a doctor to help the people there. He went on to university and studied in both Paris and Berlin. He wrote a series of books on the life of Jesus which gave him a worldwide reputation in theological studies. He was also a gifted organist and wrote a definitive work on the life and music of Bach.

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Summer Jobs

Written by John McElligott

My first summer job…. and my worst!

My summer work began when my mother became the Postmaster of Terminal Texas. My mother’s assistants were the Terminal Police Chief’s wife and Rosemary Roberson, who’s son, Don (MHS 64), became a decorated Army hero in Vietnam. So, my first job was putting up the American flag at the post office every morning.

I was assisted by both of my brothers, Bruce and Tom. Later, I became the “rock rake man”, since the new road came from Highway 80 direct to the Airport. No grass, just red dirt and rocks. I hated raking rocks with a passion, but got 25 cents a week. In 1958, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons, since rocks and dirt were not my idea of fun.

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