Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Day - Sabbath

Sabbath started with more orientation, a lovely church service in the hospital chapel.  It’s round, concrete so the echoes made the acapella singing particularly stirring. 

We made rounds to get to know the patients.  There were multiple dressing changes, and getting acquainted with the planned surgeries for the day.  The majority of the patients here now are very complicated cases with infections from open fractures from the quake.  Many had been operated on elsewhere under widely varying conditions and have been referred here for revisions of their failed surgery or infections. Most are now in external fixators for their fractures. 
While no orthopedic clinic was actually scheduled today, several patients showed up, so we took care of whoever arrived.  There is no appointment system and the patient keeps their chart and xrays, taking them home and hopefully bringing them with them  each visit.

They schedule the infected cases last thing in the day, so other emergencies, and anesthesia shortages, and I don’t know what all delays pushed several cases from the week over into Sabbath.  After a C-section and an acute abdomen we finally got to do our five ortho cases.  With everyone cooperating they went quickly and with good results in spite of two of us having no idea where anything is, who is supposed to do what, and how the system works here.

There was time left to leave the hospital and walk through the grounds of the adjacent Adventist College, which is now a giant tent camp and unable to function as a school, though they hope to get portions of the school running next week.  I was greeted warmly by many people who thanked me for being there.  I was still in surgery scrubs and obviously foreign and couldn’t keep my camera in my pocket, so they new I was a visiting doctor.  One gentleman was a former professor  there and gave me a nice tour of the grounds and answered my many questions about life here.

I then learned why many are staying at the hospital.  The promised tap-tap back to my hotel didn't show and there was an hour of confusion and delays getting transportation back.  But the dip in the pool made it worth it all.

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