By Dr. Jennifer Wilson
The medical clinic was up and running by 0800 in Nyamboi village and we enjoyed overcast skies which lowered the temperature by a few degrees for a few hours. By midday the heat was blistering once again. According to Dr. Mensah, “November isn’t the best month to come to Ghana.” Right.
Val was in charge of our nursing station today and together with Toni-Ann, our Ghanaian nurses, and “doctor of the day” Carlye, they had to kick into action with five very sick kids with malaria all requiring injectable antimalarials and rehydration. It was so busy that Jen McLoughlin (aka wee Jenny) had to be pulled from triage for reinforcement. Miraculously, these five kids walked out of the clinic on their own two feet by lunchtime.
Our triage team of Greg, Megan, Leslie, and Jen worked non-stop treating minor problems and sending the more serious patients through. Our diagnostic station run by Alisha, Anne and Anna had a full waiting room all day long and did a marvellous job providing the physicians with important information to assist our decision making.
Dr. Andy had a very unusual case of a pre-teen boy with what appeared to be an infected shoulder joint. When faced with a case like this that is beyond our capacity, we do everything possible to help. Using our connections at the nearest hospital and funds raised through our generous donors he was transported for the care he will need. Dr. Duncan was kept extremely busy with listing hernia patients for next year and accepting referrals from the physician team for procedures such as drainage of abscesses. Surgical nurse Becky dove right in and was a huge help to our nursing team.
Dr. Francois reminded us at breakfast that dentists take Wednesdays off work but we convinced him to join us anyway. These four amazing professionals worked steadily under the canopy with Dr. Carolyn keeping extremely busy with fillings.
Our eye clinic saw just shy off 100 patients today and a few special cases were shared with all at dinner. Dr. Josh had a patient who was blind in one eye and whose “good” eye was failing due to severe glaucoma. Due to the generosity of our donors, he was able to supply her with one year supply of medications to preserve her vision. Dr. Mai looked after a young woman who was also blind in one eye and about to lose sight in the other eye due to an infection. Dr. Pete saw a 3 month old who was blind from congenital cataracts. We will work with NEA to support this child receiving surgery in Accra, hopeful that a life of blindness will be averted in all three of these patients.
While their colleagues sweated in out in the village, Dr. Martin and Marion preserved vision for 30 patients in the laser clinic. The laser clinic is known as the “country club” as the laser needs air conditioning.
Our clinic day ended with the Nyamboi village presenting our team with a mound of yams, a huge bowl of bananas and a beautiful white ram. It was an incredible display of generosity from this farming community.
The surgical team were faced with some massive hernias today. By repairing them, they are not just preventing death from hernia — they are restoring families’ incomes. These men can barely walk, let alone work on the farm. A hernia repair transforms their lives and thirty-seven lives were transformed on this day alone.
Our anaesthesia program is expanding by the hour and is now capable of administering general anaesthetics, spinal anaesthetics and sedation in all three theatres. Using the second ultrasound machine that we have, Dr. David is now teaching Eric how to do regional anaesthesia (nerve blocks). Eric is over the moon with the training he is receiving and loves working with Dr. David, Dr. Karen and Debbie.
One of our surgical nurses Bex had a birthday today and she received a lovely gift presented by Katie — a special box (empty box of gloves) filled with some treasures (bar of soap, toothpaste and some rocks). She was thrilled.
After dinner, our team was inspired and moved by an address by Dr. Mensah who thanked us for coming to Ghana again and again and again. He thanked us for raising funds again and again and again. He thanked us for our overwhelming professionalism that is displayed again and again and again. He concluded by thanking God for answering a prayer he began to pray in 1972 about his dream to bring medical services to Ghana. Tomorrow, he meets with the architects that will be building NEA’s model hospital called the Leyaata Hospital.
It’s happening again — my blogs are becoming books but there was no way that this day could be described in less than these 800-ish words.