Emergency patients I saw today at Hospital Cristo Rei: a lady five months pregnant with interuterine fetal demise - very sad, an elderly man with starvation and end stage tuberculosis barely breathing, a fellow my age with a sudden stroke and hemiplegia, a one-year old with pneumonia no better after three weeks of treatment, a Filipino migrant worker with resistant malaria, a Chinese businessman with bladder schistosomiasis.
Then I encountered Ezekiel, who gave me permission to snap this photo. Ezekiel is a farmer of sixty. Two years ago he developed a tiny wound on the right shin. It went on to create pus and pain, limiting Ezekiel’s ability to straighten out his knee. Out in the fields, the only medical care is that provided by traditional healers, but to no avail. Ezekiel found he could no longer take the pain of standing, and so resorted to crawling on his knees - a particularly difficult mode of transport for a farmer.
Our X-ray demonstrated that bone infection has eaten away Ezekiel’s entire upper tibia - the weight bearing bone of his lower leg. In the operating room we removed the dead tissue and dressed the site. The man of very humble means was just weeks away for loosing his entire leg. Now, with careful post op care and a bone graft in his future, Ezekiel may no long be forced to continue life on his knees.