Wednesday, 2 November 2011

1st November

This morning I was called to the hospital to help resuscitate a 2-day baby who initially had very shallow breathing and then arrested. He had been born by emergency caesarean but had aspirated meconium and hadn’t really picked up since delivery day. In the UK we would have ventilated him but that’s not an option here and so we hand bagged him with an airway in his mouth for about 25 minutes. Unfortunately he didn’t survive. In an attempt to allow the mother some time with her baby, we set up a screened area in what could be described as a general store come spare room when full to capacity. It wasn’t much but it felt important to let her say goodbye in privacy. The trouble is, the resuscitation area is also the delivery room and there were two women in labour whilst we were working on the baby. I can’t imagine what they felt as they watched all the commotion just half a metre away from the bottom of the delivery bed.
 After a few minutes, the baby was brought back into the delivery room, where two nurse assistants wrapped him in a cloth and then gently placed him in a cardboard box, which was placed next to baby Jaba’s cot. He, of course was oblivious to it all but as I was feeding him, I couldn’t help noticing that the box had ‘handle with care’ stamped on the outside.

 There is a ‘prolapse team’ from the states (Oregon) here at the moment and they are providing free prolapse surgery for women who need their uterus pulling up. So you might imagine the place is heaving with women looking for their free operation. Apparently, they also give them a free dress and pair of shoes when they leave the hospital. I'm not sure what this has to do with having a prolapse repair but can imagine that before long, everyone is going to want to have surgery. At the last count, there were 40 women booked in for surgery but looking at the queues in the corridor, I imagine this must have doubled by now. So both operating theatres are working at full steam at the moment, with any emergencies being squeezed in between.

 We are hoping to have our first Oromo lesson this evening. Having found that our original teacher hurt her foot and the second one couldn’t be found, we managed to find someone who sometimes does translation at the hospital. I’ve been picking up the odd phrase like; please can I have one spoon of sugar? (Mallo Zucara manka tokko). This is incredibly handy as they automatically put 3 spoons of sugar in the 75ml cup of coffee. Normally, I wouldn’t take sugar, but when I’m out at the villages I never know when I’m going to get the chance for some calories again. Talking of sugar, it seems that the reason many children have poor teeth is because they are constantly chewing on a stick of sugar cane, which is grown all around this area.


  1. David and Laurie Redwine3 November 2011 at 04:52

    We enjoy reading your accounts, and those of Jeremy as well. We hope you two come back safely.

    David and Laurie

  2. Thanks - nice to hear that you're reading the blogs. It's great to know that they are of interest to people.
    We're fine and enjoying the challenges. There's a group of health workers from Oregon here at the moment so the place is even more chaotic than usual.