It’s my last week in Teme Hospital, still full of surprise and excitement. I had another urethral injury with repair with rail road technique early in the week. This time, I used the bougie used by anaesthetist for endotracheal intubation for cannulation of the urethra because it had a similar curve as the urethral guide at the tip. It worked very well. I was impressed by my creativity. Last night, I was called and attended another man with gun shot wound. He had multiple shots on chest, back and skull. Each one might have killed him. But he was very lucky. He only had injury of liver which I had to pack the laceration to control the bleeding. I need to go in again tomorrow to remove the packing. According to Vincent, our Field Coordinator, he was a policeman. He was attacked while he was taking rest last night. The gang attacked him and wanted to take his weapon (an AK47). Vincent said he would be fired because he lost his gun. Poor guy! Another case was a woman admitted this morning with severe facial injury in a road traffic accident. I needed to perform my third tracheostomy in Teme to protect her airway before exploration and repair. Her upper and lower jaws were broken in fragments. As we did not have maxillofacial surgeon and the suitable equipments, I needed to temporarily hold them together with heavy stitches. The outlook was quite satisfactory. But she still has a long way to recover.. In this morning, James came to us after the emergency surgery. He said he was surprised to see a white man admitted to Teme. He was an American working in an oil company in Port Harcourt. He broke his leg after a fall. He tried to admit to two other hospitals but there was no bed available, so he came to us. As he broke his leg at a previous fracture site, James said it would be very difficult to treat in Teme and advised him to go back to America. In the afternoon, his company arranged the International SOS to evacuate him back to States. I have completed my End of Mission report and found that I have performed total of 12 laporotomies (including 9 gun shot wounds and one inferior vena cava injury), 2 thoracotomies (with one superior vena cava injury), 3 tracheostomies (for 2 facial injuries, one Gun-shot wound at neck) and 2 urethral injuries. It was very challenging. In the last one month when I was here, we had performed total 368 operations, average more than 13 cases per day. The work load is really hard. On Friday, the operation theater staff had organized a farewell party for me and gave me a Nigerian shirt as souvenir. I would miss them very much. In the coming week, the whole surgical team would go in turns and be replaced by another team. Members change but the workload and challenges would continue. Hope to meet you again in next mission.

Comments (1)

  • anon

    Thanks for sharing about your experiences. It's very encouraging to read about how you maintained your optimism in the face of so many casualties everyday.

    Jul 02, 2011

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