Monrovia Travel Blog› entry 5 of 22 › view all entries
So I want to give you an idea what happens aboard this ship, or at least what I do. So I'm working in the OR. We have 6 ORs (or theatres- I'm working with a lot of british people), but we only use 4 of them. The other 2 are used for storage for right now, cause the hospital is over one of the generators and is too loud and vibrates really bad. In 2 months when they are in dry dock, they are going to try to insulate the hospital to decrease the noise, becuase not only is it causing 2 ORs not to be used, but we can't use one whole patient ward.
We have 3 Maxillofacial surgeons and one eye surgeon this week, Dr Leo and Dr Tony are going back to the UK tomorrow :( We also have 4 anesthesia providers- we're losing Dr Tim tomorrow too, but we gained another 2 this week.
Our day starts with a gathering at the board, anouncements and a quick prayer before the day starts. Each room has about 2-3 cases scheduled, but like any hospital, the schedule is not set in stone. We are constantly rearranging the order, which surgeon is doing what case, cancelling, adding, etc. So once we find out what we are doing, we gather our supplies. Its a grab bag of goodies to pick from. Everything is donated and so we use whatever pack we have, the other day I did a cleft lip reconstruction with an knee arthroscopic pack.
When we are ready, we call the ward and send for our patient.
So far its basically maxillofacial surgeries, the ship has been here for about 9 months now, so most of the massive tumors have already been removed and so we are doing reconstructive surgeries, bone grafts to the mandible and maxilla. Nomas are a big issue here, a disease that usually affects young children and causes their skin and muscle on their face to literally 'melt' off leaving them horribly disfigured and shuned by their community. We had one girl who lost her nose and upper lip to a noma and we took a piece of rib from her and used it to rebuild her nose and maxilla.
In OR 5, they do an eye marathon. They have 2 beds set up in there and do 2 patients at once, since its a local anesthestic procedure. While one is being numbed, the other is having their cataract removed and sight is restored. Its so fun to watch them work and how they just turn from one patient to the next.
Next week we will be starting VVF surgeries, women who have developed vaginal fistulas and are incontinent, unable to birth children and are thus shuned from their communities. I'm looking forward to doing these surgeries. When the women are discharged, they are given a new dress to symbolize their new life.
There's probably a whole lot more I should tell you about the ORs, but I can't think of anything right now.