A Day In The Life


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Africa » Ghana » Volta
August 2nd 2012
Published: September 1st 2012
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We walked to the hospital in the morning and saw some very cool village scenes. On we arrived, rounds involved following up on the patient with the chest tube and we taught patient and staff members how to properly use an incentive spirometer. Then Rachel and myself proceeded to the consulting room where Dr. Kugbey seemed to be seeing an endless hoard of people who had piled into the OPD clinic and then awaited consults for a variety of potential medical issues. When one person was finished being seen and walked out, the next would immediately enter. This went on for some time and we got to see cases of pneumonia, bowel obstructions, malaria, etc. The doc did his best to help explain certain diagnosis he made with rationales.

After this we got some toothbrushes out of one of our suitcases of supplies and began handing out them along with toothpaste to all sorts of patients in the ER and the male ward. We then headed to the theatre to see what was going on. The first case I got to see was an older man who had necrotic toes needing removal after a bad case of cellulitis. The man was given ketamine but was still howling in pain periodically as the surgeons hacked through his toes. The second surgery was a lot more serious and involved an exploratory laparotomy. Duke and Marina got to scrub in and assist with the actual surgery while I took loads of pics. The surgery itself was over two hours and they discovered that bowel adhesions were the problem. The man with necrotic toes was to finally have them removed in the minor surgery room. Even though he was given Ketamine he was still in terrible pain and his moans could be heard throughout the theatre. Finally, in the minor surgery room, a woman with an offensive diabetic foot ulcer was to have some necrotic tissue debrided but once she was there it was determined that it was wet gangrene that would need amputation as soon as possible above the knee. However, the patient was not willing to lose her foot so the surgeon calmly told her she either would have the amputation or become septic and die. I took a picture of the foot and then we explained and showed the pic to the family who finally agreed to have her have the surgery.


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