Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Emergency Room...

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time in the Emergency Room at the hospital to see how it functions and try to help out a little. I am still doing primarily management work and have to be careful when going to the wards or emergency room as I can easily get drawn into patient care, which the doctors here are hoping for! And to be honest, I also hope I will able to do more in the future. But for now, there is so much to be done behind the scenes, to make sure the clinical care continues to improve.

When I left Sierra Leone a year ago, the Emergency Room did not even exist. And although there is still much work to be done, the ER is a great improvement and a definite step forward in providing the children of Sierra Leone with quality care. Welbodi Partnership worked alongside the hospital to establish the Emergency Room, which opened in November of last year. They also trained the nurses and doctors so that appropriate emergency care could be given.

As I was in the Emergency Room I was confronted again with the burden of disease in this country and the lack of supplies and manpower to combat this problem. There were two to three children on each of the emergency cots and they are really the sickest of the sickest with most just hanging on for dear life. There is one doctor that covers the ER and ICU, meaning one doctor for about 10 patients in the ER and another 40 in ICU. You can imagine they welcome the help of volunteer doctors. Fortunately there has just been a new doctor posted to the hospital so the ER is covered by one doctor and the ICU by another. Supplies are also limited. With only two oxygen concentrators in the Emergency Room we have to connect up to 4 children to one concentrator, which then decreases the amount of oxygen each child receives. As you can imagine, this is not ideal. However, as I stated earlier, the situation is already better than it was a year ago. The Emergency Room was one big step in reaching high quality care in the hospital, many more need to follow.

As I arrived in the Emergency Room this morning, I noticed 5 little bodies wrapped up in colorful cloths on the cot by the door. Five children who did not reach the age of 5 years old. Five families who are dealing with the loss of a child. And one doctor who tried his best to save these children through the night. It was a very sad sight to see and again a reminder of the high child mortality in Sierra Leone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being there, thank you for reaching out. Thank you for being Gods love and hands extended... mama

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~