The Theater

Three doctors volunteering at the hospital stand outside the theater entranceAt 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.
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Photo of the Day

Heidi has commented on numerous occasions about how different medical processes are here than in the US. In the US we have the luxury of sterile medical environments and an abundance of new drugs. This box holds the medicine to be used on a given day in the pediatrics ward. It is shocking how dirty and used everything looks. The brand new, brightly colored children’s vitamin canister really stood out to me. It also reflected the situation in the peds ward. Despite all the sadness and sickness, there was an occasional kid that would give you a bright smile.

Meds for the Pediatric Ward

Photo of the Day

We are at the end of rainy season and late each afternoon huge thunder clouds roll in but don’t provide a drop of rain. I had just passed through the market to the other side of town when these children ran up asking to be “snapped.” I asked them to pose on the abandoned bulldozer and was pleased to be able to frame the shot with the thunder clouds creeping in.

One could use this image to communicate several different messages about industrialization and the future of traditional living in West Africa.  I’ll let you ponder its implications.

Photo of the Day

This photo was taken on the road to the market.  Children here make toys out of found objects.  No Fisher Price, no Hasbro, no G.I. Joe.  This boy was having a jolly good time pushing and chasing this old tire down the dirt road.


We are not alone in our new house. A mouse (or rat?) has been nibbling at our granola bars. He has to be stopped before he gets into our stash of snacks for Trey.

Rat Poison I purchased in town for ten cents (1000 pesowas)Baby had other obligations this afternoon so I took Trey with me to the market to get a mouse trap. Without Baby to translate things were a bit more difficult. I managed to get a “we not having the catch, but we having the poison.” So bought my 1 gram of imported Chinese rat poison for 10 cents.

Let’s hope we get rid of that little bugger tonight.

Pray for Dr. Faile and his Family

Dr. Faile checks the records in the pediatrics wardYesterday Dr. Faile’s mother passed away while visiting her sister at a hospital in Georgia. Please pray for him as he travels tomorrow to the US for the funeral. Also lift up the hospital staff in your prayers. He is the hospital’s only surgeon and will be gone for 1 1/2 weeks. They are trying to get a temporary replacement in his absence.

This week also marks the departure of three sets of volunteers. Oli, a British med student, is leaving Thursday after two months here. Peter, a Belgian doctor serving in Burkina Faso, heads back north with his wife and children. Finally, a team of 6 OB/Gyn doctors, nurses, and techs will return to Florida after having worked here for 10 days. That leaves the hospital very short-handed this next week with only Dr. Hewitt, Heidi, and Jessica, another 4th year medical from Kansas City, MO.