Liberia 2017

Kwendin #20 | March 6, 2017

Supper is done. It has been a long day and now we are kind of sitting around not quite sure what is next.  

We went off to the clinic at 8 this morning. I was expecting to take out a lump at 8, and there was a big crowd of people waiting for us when we arrived. It took nearly till 9 before the fellow with the lump showed up. So in the meantime I saw quite a few of our post op patients for dressing changes and suture removals and the like. Eventually the fellow did show up, so Kristie and I worked on him till about 9:30 when it was almost too late to leave.  

Off we went to Tappita. We were fine--got there just after 10 and our patient had not yet arrived in the OR. We got changed and soon the first one arrived and we started in on the day.  

Really it went well today. We had 6 cases and some of them turned out to take quite a while. I know, I know--I'm not the fastest surgeon in town. but I do OK and the staff there are happy with my work. We did 5 people with hernias, repaired seven. Two of the patients had two hernias to repair.  

The sixth patient was the guy we had brought to Tappita yesterday, 4 days after I did his hernia repair. I thought he had marked swelling from bleeding inside so I was expecting to open him up and find a unit of clotted blood. But instead the tissue was dead. He had developed Fournier's gangrene, and in this letter I will not describe that condition in detail. You can look it up on Google. We did have an extensive discussion about it here. Bob says "just say Ouch." Our patient will end up in hospital for some weeks till he heals up, and eventually he will heal up. It turns out he had applied scalding hot compresses that had caused a scald and increased swelling and then gangrene. Kristie was just shaking her head. Never seen anything like it. I have managed a few of them over the years and they have all done well.  

So then it was 5:30 and time to come home. We stopped for a cold pop, which was very welcome--I had long since finished my 1.5L drink bottle between cases. Lunch had been crackers and tuna and bananas, which are fine but after some hours the hunger games start. No, not those Hunger Games.  

Bob had supper almost ready for us when we arrived so there was supper within a matter of minutes. Fried rice and veggies and chicken--pre hatched (scrambled eggs) and post hatched (fried chicken spam). There are lots more bananas and Bob already had a pineapple cut up waiting for us.

This time next week we expect to be back in Monrovia at ELWA. Our time here is winding down.

Dr. John Potts