A fraught scene of a patient carried via stretcher after a natural disaster. In 2018 and 2019, Indonesia endured a series of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and landslides.
Just as Dr. Debryna Dew Lumanauw, pictured in safety and protective gear, became involved with the National Search and Rescue agency as a medic.
First responders practice climbing through a twisted shaft in a training compound. Disasters don’t wait for emergency responders to be ready. “Last year was ‘going to remote disaster sites’ and ‘back in Jakarta for training exercises.’”
Dr. Lumanauw examines a patient’s abdomen with a stethoscope. “Helping those in need with all my power, also failing to do so, has taught me so much about life. No matter where life leads me, I learn that wherever I’ll be, have courage.”
Dr. Lumanauw surrounded by local children. “Believe in yourself...do what feels right and be kind.” Quotes by Dr. Debryna Dewi Lumanauw.
Dr. Debryna Dewi Lumanauw
Debryna Dewi Lumanauw wasn’t the sort of kid who dreams about becoming a doctor. When she decided to pursue medicine, “it was an instant moment, almost without reason.” She began medical school in Bandung, Indonesia, at the young age of 16. During her clerkship, she volunteered for the hospital ship the USNS Mercy. It was her first real exposure to her ultimate passion — field medicine. Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mt. Merapi, erupted in 2010, and Dr. Lumanauw rushed home to volunteer with the relief efforts. She graduated at 23 and worked in a trauma centre in Bali before pursuing a fellowship as a research scholar in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Lumanauw’s next move was returning to Indonesia and getting involved with the national search-and-rescue agency (BASARNAS), where she started to work with the country’s urban search-and-rescue team, INASAR. She did medical outreach on remote islands, and she was a first responder during a tumultuous period involving earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and landslides. During those times, Dr. Lumanauw often found herself as the sole woman on her team.
She loves when she’s able to make a personal connection with the people she rescues, and she’s been gifted with backyard durian or handwoven batik as thanks. She still visits a street-food merchant who she cared for during the Mt. Merapi eruption, who fondly remembers her as “the kid doctor.”
Dr. Lumanauw’s comic is by artist Isip Xin.