Friday, February 15, 2013

Uganda part II

Wifi is tricky here so had to publish the last entry without finishing it. Obviously it's been more than 5 days here! One week now and we are closing in on finishing.  After driving through Jinja we had lunch at a small restaurant where monkeys were playing in the trees. So crazy to be surrounded by this.  We then head to the source of the Nile River.  The Nile is fairly tame ( at least the part we saw) because the built a dam for electricity a few years ago.  The has hurt the areas tourism for white water rafting the class 5 rapids that used to be here.  After our sightseeing I was very anxious to get to the hospital to take care of some patients.  Unfortunately the air conditioning had broken in the operating room so they were not able to complete surgeries that day.  We were all so disappointed. When the one thing that we came to do here didn't happen it was very disheartening.

About the hospital... It's Mulago Hosptial and is huge.  Almost 2000 beds - compared to UVA's 600 beds.  Although the general floor has 10 beds or so in a large open ward, so the square footage may not be so different.  The group that I am with has been coming for many years.  The cardiologist that heads the group is amazing.  He has had a vision not just to come repair hearts but to build the heart center's program so that they can do it on their own.  The Hospital recently built a new OR and cath lab.  They are doing caths on their own and some simple heart repairs. Our doctors are here teaching more complex cases as well las screening patients for future surgeries or the possibility of coming to the US to have their surgery done.  As nurses we are teaching the Ugandan nursing e about heart defects, taking care of post op patients, etc.  Some of the Ugandan nurses have even traveled out of country for further schooling and have come so far in their ability to take care of heart patients.

The families are so grateful to receive free surgeries for their children.  As with most developing countries there is no health insurance.  When a patient is in the hospital it's basically pay as you go. We took over care of a baby who had been here for a month. Prior to being in our care the nurses would tell the mom how much it would cost and was she able to pay? So hard to imagine. If you don't have the money you don't get the care. Period. Your child doesn't get the care. Period. As screwed up as the health insurance system is in the states at least you know that if you get hit by a car you can go to the hospital and they cannot refuse to help you. The Ugandan people are generally soft spoken and kind. Despite the chaos on the roads and the multitude of beeping horns it seems more "Hey, watch out so you don't get hit or hit me" vs the US version of "get our of my e'ffin way you bleep bleep bleep!" I've not seen any patients in the waiting room outraged at the waiting. Nobody screaming or yelling into their cell phones. There is no "keeping up with the Jones's". It has felt very refreshing. We are on our last day of surgery. We haven't done as many cases as they had hoped, but for those mama's whose children we did operate on, we have saved their world. I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of this process.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your good work, Stacy. I am a FB friend of Joe Shaver's. He is so proud of you.