Feb 1, 2016

February 3rd, 2016 by Kristen Allcorn-Killen

A new volunteer arrived this morning…after a grueling 15 hr bus ride from Accra, Ghana. I sure hope the planes are flying when I leave. She is another medical student, and I am excited to work with her. We went to the hospital to round as usual. It seems like we discharged lots of people, but then we turn around and there is another one in his/her bed! There are tons of patients all the time (and it is not even the rainy season, where there are 3 kids to each bed!)


After rounds, I helped with a few procedures. Then lunch. Then clinic. Clinic was super busy (because it was a Monday and because it was a Market day). At one point, there were three doctors, 3 Ghanian translators/nurses, 3 patients, and 5 family members in one tiny room; it was crazy. At another point, I was speaking to a nurse who spoke to another patient’s relative in Mamprsi, who spoke to a Fulani man (the patient) who then responded and it was translated back. After some laughs and miscommunication, I think we got it figured out.


Some interesting cases from the day included: an incarcerated hernia (she went to surgery the next day), cellulitis after local medical treatment of a wound, severe malaria, enteric fever, snake bite, leprosy, a man with a huge testicular hydrocele (surgery for him is in a few weeks), a woman with a large growth (2in x 12 in) from her ear, and a child with a brachial cleft cyst, and lots of pregnant women, plus the usual HTN, COPD, Acid reflux…The last man was an elderly Fulani man (part of the three-way translation) who had multiple complaints (none of which was my chief issue…his poor breathing quality from COPD). So we discussed treatment for a few issues and he will return if he wants to discuss other symptoms. At the end of our discussion, he thanked me for caring for him and smiled from ear to ear.


Clinic finished at around 6:30, which gave us time to eat and rest a bit before going back to the hospital for night rounds, where we see all the new admissions for the day and write orders. We work like a well oiled machine and finished rounds fast. I saw that Fulani man again on the ward and he introduced me to his brother, who was admitted earlier that day; he was still very grateful for the care.


At the end of rounds, I pleaded for us to help this one boy; he had fallen from an orange or lemon tree and a thorn went through the palm of his hand three days ago. When we saw him his little 5 year old hand was swollen to the size of an orange (and no, I am not exaggerating). His hand was very sore and the pain was spreading by this time up his upper arm. I was afraid that if we waited until morning to cut open his hand and relieve the pressure, that he could have permanent damage to his hand. Thus, we took him to the procedure room, gave him a little ketamine, then cut his palm open; pus and blood spurted out as we relieved the pressure; after getting all the junk out, we packed it with gauze. I was so thankful that we went ahead and did the procedure that night…and I know that boy is too!