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On Backup For Hell – Angola Day 19



On call for emergencies one evening, I cared for a elderly man with acute bleeding into his bladder. This caused obstruction of urine outflow, a huge bladder, and extreme pain. Simply placing a Foley catheter thru the penis or directly through the abdominal into the bladder was no solution, since the clots obstructed any hope of outflow. I was at the end of my expertise, and considered, “When it all goes to hell, who ya gonna call?” I called Annelise Olsen, Lubango Evangelical Medical Center’s newest surgeon extraordinaire. That evening Annelise walked me through my first transvesical postatectomy, and here’s my mentor showing off the 300 gram prostate we shelled out of his bladder neck. What’s this, a general surgeon performing urological surgery? Yes, and far more. Everyday Annelise performs grueling orthopedic, ENT, and gynecological procedures – utilizing Angola’s extremely limited resources – that would make any surgical sub-specialist have second thoughts. The field of general surgery in North American has become so compressed by surgical sub-specialists that there’s relatively little remaining for the generalist. But out here, a truly general surgeon can enjoy the entire spectrum. And when family physician like myself confronts a hellacious situation, I’m grateful that uniquely a talented surgeon like Annelise Olsen is on back up.

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