Thursday, May 19, 2011

The "other" part of the hospital

I don't know if you knew this but I'm a doctor. Its what I do, not really who I am but there it is. I'm not....well I'm not a lot of things. Recently this was brought home to me last Tuesday when in the midst of a busy medical day we lost power to the hospital.

Dr. Fuka was taking out an uterus when, oops the lights went out.

I was helping some premature infants get oxygen and making rounds in the hospital at that same time.

I assumed that it was a breaker of fuse or something and strolled back to the "other" part of the hospital to nod knowingly while Molimo our mechanic extraordinaire explained electrical things to me in french and put it all together. But that is not what happened. I went back and he and Jean Pierre (carpenter/pastor) were looking at this.

This little device is called and inverter/charger and it converts our solar electricity to usable current for us at the hospital. It was fried. Even I could tell that it smelled bad. This is the mechanics version of the "janitor" lesion we talk about in medicine. Without this device even though we have lot's of batteries like you see below we can't use that energy.

The other problem was that even though we have a diesel generator that fuels the hospital a large part of our circuitry goes through this box. Therefore even though the generator was working the circuitry that went through this box did not go to the hospital.

For now the team of Molimo and Jean Pierre have worked out a system to get the electricity from this "other" part of the hospital to the patient care part of the hospital using the generator but this is not a long term solution
1. it is too expensive to run the generator 24/7
2. it is too much wear and tear on the generator.
3. there are still parts of the hospital that are not working

Currently our plan for the "other" hospital is:
1. We run the generator from 11pm through the night for the nurses and keep it going until 3pm which is the end of our day shift.
2. From 3 pm to about 7pm we run two small generators to fuel oxygen concentrators to keep some kids alive.
3. From 7pm to 11pm we have "city" power that runs our services.

What happened to the cases that we were working on when the lights went out? Well we got a light for Dr. Fuka and he finished the case without further mishap. The children I was working with were not so fortunate. They both died that evening after a long day of struggling to find ways to give them oxygen.

So as you pray or think about our patients here remember that the care they receive in part depends on our "other" hospital. Pray that we can get this repaired or replaced ($2k to $4k), thank God that the city electricity is working and we have the other generators to give a break to the big one we have, and continue to uphold our team in prayer.


bonniebo said...

Absolutely heartbreaking to read...I had an inverter fry but no lives depended on it. Sobering realization of how easy we in the States have it......still praying for you, your team, the infrastucture, your hearts.....and on top of it all, we really miss you guys!

Emmy said...

SO many things to hold up to the Lord! Praying for your stamina and that of all the different skilled hands at work in all parts of the hospital!!!