Greetings from Aweil!! Its had to believe that Monday marks four weeks in Aweil. I have two weeks to go while John heads home with a very big smile on his face. It has definitely been an amazing month!
Since the last update John and I have fully recovered from our little ‘bug’ and life on the compound has been back to normal. The maternity department has been steady, but not out of control like our first week here. However, we did unfortunately meet a few of the negative statistics that no one wants to personally experience.
As with all things, no prenatal check up leads to all sorts of things at the point of delivery. We had a c-section on Saturday evening for a 13 pound hydrocephalus fetus….approximately 5 pounds of body and 8 pounds of head, the size of a basketball. The physical features were quite distorted and fortunately for all practical purposes the baby drifted off of to sleep after only making it through the night. Another smaller hydrocephalus (although not alive and not nearly as large) arrived with the left arm (and up to the elbow) as the presenting part. Another fatal home delivery that ended in a very difficult vaginal delivery, thankfully under spinal anesthesia, and without having to do a total destructive delivery. Then Tuesday morning there is a frantic call over the OB radio, with the words seizure, low sat, low heart rate….John and I headed into the hospital to find a failed resuscitation and a pulseless patient. In briefings, and in practice, you know that these things can happen but its still unexpected and extremely sad all at the same time.
With all of the ‘negative’ things above, it is nice to share that I had a little bit of a change of duty the last two days. The hospital that we work in, is a Ministry of Health hospital, and we manage the maternity and under 15 yr old patients. The other departments are all managed and supported by the State. On the property of the hospital, other NGOs (None-Government-Organizations) come form time to time to perform various health campaigns. This week two ophthalmologists from Kenya (via Michican and Alabama) have hammered our 400 cataract patients…..Dr O, I think only you could keep up with this pace!! They had two pediatric patients (5 & 9 yr old) that needed sedation in order to get the block placed and to perform the surgery. They contacted my Field Coordinator and asked for anesthesia support and I was happy to offer a hand to their project. These kids were ‘born’ with cataracts and tomorrow will ‘see’ for the first time. The 9 yr old may have less of a response as the surgeon explained that the neuro-pathways between the brain and eye stop ‘forming’ between 9-10 years old, but the 5 yr old will likely gain complete sight. It was a ketamine / diazepam ‘MAC’ that took several hours for each of them to recover from but the rewards for those kids will be worth the painful IV placement and the few hours of feeling like they are coming off of an LSD trip!
Be thankful if you can read this blog, because that means that you didn’t have to walk 10 miles to get medical care today. I will admit that I am ashamed of the USA, these people are willing to give anything for a chance at having healthcare, yet we are shutting down the government in order to prevent access to healthcare. Politicians should be hung and quartered for allowing the country to get into the position…..ok enough with that rant!
A few pictures of: the only diaper I’ve seen in South Sudan, a happy patient that no longer needs anesthesia for her dressing changes (and who has no idea what a whale is…lol), Paul making us popcorn, and another dressing change patient.
Hope that all is well with everyone back home,
See you soon
& 9yr old)