Tomorrow is our last day of surgery – 14 cases booked. Our recovery room is overflowing; some children on mattresses on the floor, other pre-operative patients have to find their own accommodation for the night, maybe camping on our doorstep, returning for surgery tomorrow morning. We had two interesting cases arrive late in the day as we were finishing our slate. We decided to stay late and fit them in. One was a young woman from the border of Ethiopia and Sudan. She had traveled over 300 kms and had severe facial deformities. Though an interpreter we determined that her neighbour had brought her hoping we could repair her deformity so she could be traded to the brother of his potential bride. The second case was a small boy rushed in by his father with serious facial injuries caused by dog bites. After several hours of surgery they were able to save his eye and close his wounds. It is yet to be determined if the dog has rabies and there is no treatment available for rabies in Ethiopia. If we had not been on site, this child probably would not have recieved emergency plastic surgery – a lucky boy.
We have had many challenges running patient admission with medical records, a 3 bed operating room, recovery room and post-operative beds. Everyday we have water and power outages. It has kept our quartermaster and assistant team leader busy being inventive to keep these systems functioning. One day the scrub team was scrubbing up out of a barrel and a bucket. Today, we ran out of Oxygen and it is being delivered from Gondor about 3 hours away. We are constantly short of very basic supplies and drugs and this forces us to be very innovative and resourceful. Despite this, these kids are little miracles. We have done good work – thanks to your help.
Tomorrow we do 14 operations. Thursday is clinic day when we do our post-op visits for all surgical patients and then we pack up. We hope to gather for a final dinner late Thursday evening. We leave Friday morning for Addis Ababa. Some of us are returning home, others are going on the Tanzania for a 5 day safari.
We will post pictures and more thoughts when we return. Extremely slow internet access here has prohibited loading any pictures.