This trip, I am accompanied by Dr Ronnie Mubang, a PGY4 General Surgery resident, and Mr. Tony XIA, a TUSM 4th year medical student. Enjoy the posts!
Some quick captions for the attached photos!
*Here we go Cameroon we come.
*Shout out to Ryan setting out clean water supplies in Liberia. The world needs more of Ryan.
*Why not. Shades all the way lol.
*Transit Brussels. Tired but excited!
*Thank you sir Brussels for the great movie selection. Everest movie was amazing. Yes Dr Sharpe I said it. Apparently the crew from air Brussels said kingali Rwanda best city to visit y? Because so clean and no plastics banned in the country.
*Respect to other missionaries here in Cameroon. Thank you for setting up the school systems. The world needs you.
*Beinvenue a Douala.
*Feet on soil.
We arrived the evening of 3 September, relaxed a little after dinner, and got a much needed good night’s rest. The next day was Sunday and we spent the day unpacking the four suitcases of supplies we brought with us and putting them into the OR supply room. Most of them were critically needed by the surgery service. I was also able to supply the surgery residents with over 30 pairs of scrubs donated to the SLISS program for this purpose! Tony and Ronnie met many of the residents and they got organized for work the next day. Monday was busy; the residents warmly welcomed us, as usual, and we got right to work operating. It is a pleasure for me to be back here with another team!
A nice panoramic shot of the grounds from the back balcony of the surgery clinic. The building on the right with the red roof is the chapel. At the daily chapel service, it is a tradition when visitors arrive and depart to introduce ourselves and say our farewells to the entire staff of over 600 people in the hospital. On the left is a view of the mountains of northwest Cameroon where the hospital is nestled.
I was happy to find many visiting professionals here this month. Surgeons fellowship trained in ENT, OBGYN, Trauma/SCC and Pediatric Surgery are currently here from prestigious institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University and, of course, St. Luke’s. Additionally, MBH has 3 full time general surgeons and 13 General Surgery residents. This may sound like a lot, but there were over 70 surgery patients on the wards to see this morning, approximately 80 will need to be seen in the outpatient clinic and then there are 25 scheduled surgeries to be done not counting the handful of emergency surgeries that seem to be consistently needed every day. It’s quite a busy surgery service! The picture below was from our morning meeting today.
Many have asked me about our accommodations while serving at MBH. Since MBH has over 100 visitors per year, they have many places for guests to stay. Single family houses (for groups or families) and two Hostels are able to meet housing needs. For visitors who don’t want the hassle of making their own meals, a small kitchen and dining room provide three meals per day “family style”. I have always found the rooms to be very comfortable and the food excellent. Over the last several trips, I have stopped eating lunch to avoid gaining weight!
Well, our team just completed our first weekend on call (Friday through Sunday) along with three of the PAACS residents. I’ll let them blog about their impressions, but I was proud of all the work they were able to do and the long hours required. After 72 hrs, Ronnie and Tony are still at it in clinic today and still seem to be enjoying the experience. Here are just a few pics.
I thought I’d share a success story form yesterday. This 8 yo was suffering from complications of his Tb infection; one complication being restrictive pericarditis. This is a condition where the sac around the heart scars down and literally squeezes the heart so that it cannot function well. The surgery was a removal of the sac around the heart which was done yesterday, but he suffered two cardiac arrests. We were able to get his heart started again and this is a photo after a rough night in the ICU. Big shout out to Cory Bond from Good Shepherd Rehab for the donated vent! Without that the patient would have been “bagged” all night by a family member. After many prayers, the boy was extubated (breathing tube removed) today and is now crying to eat dinner!!
The surgeons here in Mbingo take care of patients of all ages with any variety of conditions. This is a 4 month old baby with a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) causing him respiratory distress. After a technically difficult operation, the team managed to fix his defect and send him safely to the ICU. The first picture shows a red vessel loop around the PDA coming of the child’s aorta, and the second picture shows both sides of the vessel clamped off after it was cut.
There is no trash pick up here. All trash from the hospital is incinerated. There are two homemade brick incinerators located in a small, separate building. It makes for a fragrant morning, but they work well!
This is our last week here and, after our first weekend off, we are ready for a busy week. A pleasant surprise happened today. We were told that 18 boxes of supplies shipped from our distribution center sometime last year arrived to the hospital. it was nice to see these much needed items get unpacked and placed onto the OR supply room shelves. Great job St. Luke’s!!
This is a 67 year old woman who suffered a blunt abdominal trauma and was taken to a
Hospital where she underwent multiple surgeries with severe postoperative complications. She was told there was nothing more they could do and was discharged. She arrived at Mbingo gravely ill aand with little chance of survival. We were able to get her strong enough to undergo yet another surgery and after 2 months of being at the hospital she was ready to go home with no further complications. This was such an emotional trip for her and her family. Thank God for the team at mbingo!
This is a 60 year old male who had been having symptoms of intermittent nausea and vomiting and unable to eat for for over 4 months. He had been to over 5 hospitals in Cameroon and was told there was no hope for him. Finally, he came to mbingo and was taken to the operating room where we were able to correctly diagnose him and fix the problem. One week later, he was ready to go home and live a normal life! Just another day at mbingo.
Below is a picture with the nurses from the surgery outpatient clinic. They are absolutely incredible! Each day in clinic we average over 80 patients; speaking many different languages including French, English, “pigeon English” and tribal languages. These nurses translate and keep the entire clinic moving so all can be seen. Thank you so much for all you do!
Today was our last day here and we had a good day of academic presentations and discussions. We were blessed to have ENT, OBGYN and plastics surgery specialists visiting from such prestigious institutions as Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic. It was a pleasure to be part of such a talented team this month and I especially thank my friends at Mbingo for their continued warm welcome and making us part of their team.