At the BMC, the theater is the location of the 2 operating rooms and the 2 minor procedure rooms. Tuesdays and Thursdays are surgery days. On Tuesday I saw 5 hernia surgeries, scrubbed in for 3. To see so many hernias in one day is not uncommon on a general surgery rotation in the States. As expected, there are many differences between the circumstances I’m used to back home and here. For instance, I was lancing an abscess on a woman’s thumb yesterday. She was lying on a stretcher with a baby on her belly nursing. We just had to keep a close watch on the baby’s wandering hands – keeping the sharps away from her tiny fingers.
* Warning * Today, I assisted/ observed 2 debridements of wounds and the following descriptions are fairly graphic.
One young boy was bitten by a snake, brought in 5 days later, and now his leg has become necrotic and the muscles are simply dying. As Dr. Hewitt unwrapped the leg, maggots fell on the sheet. So much of his leg has had to be removed, that both the bones in the lower leg are now exposed. He is his father’s only son, and the father refuses to consent for the much needed amputation of the lower leg. The father said that the boy will be of no use to him with only one leg. Does he not understand that a living son with one leg is much better than a dead son with two legs?
The second girl is suffering from a tropical disease Buruli ulcer, caused by mycobacterium ulcerans. It is a necrotizing ulcer of the skin and soft tissue which must be excised and debrided with a margin of healthy skin. On this young girl, the ulcer extends from her sternum to her arm, up into her neck, exposing the carotid artery and extends down to below her nipple.
My heart feels heavy for both of these kids who have had to endure such great pain, knowing that their suffering is not done. God has brought them here for a reason. May we show them the love of Jesus as we care for their wounds.