Day 5

Today I continued to work on all the little jobs that pop up as the mission goes on. One of the women (Donatha) had a very long surgery yesterday–8 hours. She had a complicated problem that required an abdominal surgery. She had a 103 degree fever this morning, which made us worried that she might have an infection. It can be a challenge to get medications from the hospital pharmacy into the patient’s mouths. I think that the nursing staff here does not have enough training to understand the importance of checking for orders and then following through. We write orders after surgery for the patients to get pain medicine, antibiotics, IV fluids, etc, and on day 5, we have yet to see those orders followed.

So poor Donatha looked terrible. I gave her some IV antibiotics, oral pain medication, and then IV morphine, and by the end of the day she looked much better. However, when we went back the next morning (Friday), her temperature was 102 and her pain was terrible. We added another antibiotic and hope she is better tomorrow (Saturday).

I don’t know what it will take to change this system. We want the Rwandans to take care of their own patients. But I want for these women to get the care they need to stay healthy and not suffer. This is a systems problem here–they just aren’t set up to provide enough education to the nurses and doctors. Every year the team is frustrated by these issues. And the Rwandan doctors are equally frustrated–they want things to be better.

One of the littlest patients from our mission last year came back today for a follow up. She is 8 years old and was in a terrible car accident when she was younger. I remember her because I was in the room when she was first examined, and she was so scared. This year she was full of smiles. She will still need another surgery when she gets older, but we hope that one day she will no longer leak urine. There is a picture of her with her surgeon posted on the sidebar.