Professionalism of surgeons
May 29, 2011
It’s a Saturday evening. It rains almost everyday during the week. It’s rainy season in Nigeria from June to September. Port Harcourt is in the Niger River Delta. It has one of the most rainfall in Nigeria. We finished operation theater at 6pm today, earliest ever since I was in Teme. We don’t have many major cases in these two days. Our American Orthopaedic surgeon, Patrick, and Turkish Anaesthetist, Cemil had gone yesterday. Kamma, the Danish anaesthetic nurse will leave on Tuesday. Another three members join our surgical team today, one Austrian anaesthetist, one Brazilian Anaesthetic nurse and one French Orthopaedic surgeon. I must give credit to the professionalism of the two American surgeons. Imagine we have to scrub our hands with the sterillium over ten, twenty times a day, which is a sterilizing agent and very irritant to skin. I also have some redness and rashes on my armpits. They are painful and itchy. Both of them have rashes on both hands and arms. It’s terrible. It causes much pain in each time scrubing but they follow the straight sterilization protocol. Coming Monday, 30 th May, will be the Presidency Inauguration Ceremony of Nigeria. It’s a government holiday but we still have to work as usual. We expect there may be more violence in the country. We have to keep high vigilance. This week we have many sad stories but an encouraging one. One woman was admitted with multiple fractures on both arms and left upper arm. They were all transverse fractures and there were double fractures on left humerus. She denied of any violence and said she was hit by a car. But these were all close injuries with no other external wound. I suspected it was a domestic violence. As I said before, hospital blood bank has to collect blood in the university every now and then. There was a blood donation appeal last Tuesday. They could collect 60 units of blood from a local university. They told us that around 10 to 15 % may have to be discarded because of infection. The students were proud of wearing the T-shirt given by MSF. I met Dr Sydney and assisted him two flap surgeries on Friday. He is the Professor of Orthopaedics of the local hospital. His specialty is in Trauma Reconstruction. His university trains 200 Medical students a year. Medical training in Nigeria takes 6 years undergraduate, 1year internship and 7 to 9 years specialist training. For him, he has the Fellowships of College of Surgeons in Nigeria, College of Surgeons of West Africa, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh. He is very energetic. He told me he was newly appointed by WHO and Ministry of Health as the Convener of a Commission to Trauma Prevention in Nigeria. He said people in Nigeria have to pay for the health care service, even in emergency. It makes lots of accident victims delay in seeking medical help and cause unnecessary complication and mortality. He would like to improve the emergency and resuscitation care, and make it free or paid by a trauma insurance. He is grateful to MSF providing free trauma surgeries to local people. He would help doing some trauma reconstructive surgeries for major trauma cases in Teme. Sometimes he would pick up difficult cases to the University for surgery.