Monday, May 21, 2012

Medical Update. Surgeons, Trauma and Premies...Oh My

WE NEED A SURGEON. Not just any surgeon, but a surgeon who would be humble enough to work with us, speaks French (and or Lingala) has experience in and Africa operating room and who is willing to see where God is leading in his/her life.  We need one badly.  We’ve done almost the same number of surgical interventions this year as last year at this time when we had an active surgeon with a fully staffed operating room and God has watched over us.  However, this has also strained other aspects of our ministry

Joe , Laura and I are working with divided attentions.  Without an active surgeon on staff, we are each doing a little more surgery.  This is challenging and fun sometimes and agonizing and heart rending at other times when we are at our limits.   It also takes each of us from other things that we should be doing as well. Laura has  MPH studies, improving obstetrics care, and family practice duties.  Joe has his family practice duties and his administrative responsibilities.  For me it’s the improvement of pediatric services and increasing admin duties as Joe prepares to leave on home assignment in June of this year.  Don’t get us wrong we all like to do surgery, but to do it well something else has to give.  Therefore a surgeon would be great.  Someone who could teach and come along side to help

You probably understand this better as “accidents” as in motor vehicle accidents but ask any emergency physician or surgeon in the US and you will see that they aren’t really accidents.  Because they can be avoided.  Anyway, we have a lot here in Impfondo now.  Add a population surge, more access to motorcycles, no enforcement of a driver’s license or helmet laws, a dose of alcohol and you have trauma.  Lots of trauma.  We see broken legs, arms, heads, and teeth.   The only negative social consequence is the “at fault” person pays the medical bills of the other.  This seems like a good idea but leads to exaggeration of the injury on one side and default of payments on the other and there is no objective determination of fault.

In May we had a rush of premature infants.  For me they are  a great example of the “least of these” and we try to pour ourselves into saving them.  Some we do some we don’t. In May we had 12 premature infants.  All the ones under 800 grams (that’s about 1 ½ pounds) died.  One of those was a real frustrating one because she was almost a month old and was doing well before a viral infection swept through the pavilion and we lost power for an hour so she lost oxygen support for an hour. 
The good news is that we had 9 kids who survived and the smallest was born at 2# 12 ounces.  There was such a neat “esprit du corps” in the room as each of the moms cheered their babies on to the 4# 4 ounces discharge weight.  I am happy to say there is only one who still is there but he is steadily gaining weight.

We’ve had some “oh my” moment as well since I last wrote. 
In March we had a fire in our operating room area that was controlled with no one being hurt but with a lot of clean up to do afterwards. 
We also had to evacuate a little girl who was struck by a motorcycle as she was crossing the street. In that accident she sustained and epidural hematoma which we controlled but then transferred her to Brazzaville for the neurosurgeon to treat.  I flew down with her to make sure she continued to receive the blood she was getting and to make sure she got to the hospital. She actually had another “oh my” moment when I went to find her the next day at the hospital and she wasn’t there.  I found out later from the family that the care at the referral center was concerning so she was treated as an outpatient by a military doctor in Brazzaville.

Thanks for supporting and praying.

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