Archive for July, 2013

Cross-Cultural Compassion – Angola Day 15

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 |

  One beauty of Jesus’ account of the Good Samaritan is the virtue it demonstrates of a person reaching beyond the prevailing social norms and barriers; a virtue applicable to any particular community across the world. This sketch is here in the entryway at Lubango Evangelical Medical Centers. Have you read the account recently? Take […]

Surprise Survivor – Angola Day 14

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 |

  I’m pictured here with Sapolo, a man of forty-five whom I first cared for a week ago. His pneumonia, the leading cause of death in low-income nations, was at that time severe. In spite of oxygen and antibiotic Sapolo’s chest weaved more greatly and his alertness declined as the oxygen to his brain diminished. […]

Who Is Comforting Who? – Angola Day 13

Monday, July 29th, 2013 |

  Last night I received an urgent call from our head nurse. Sónia, a girl of seven, was suffering worse respiratory distress. And suddenly, she began coughing up pus from the abscess in her neck. I was very familiar with Sónia, having admitted her four days earlier with severe cough, fever, and pneumonia. We have […]

Who Is In Your Waiting Room? – Angola Day 12

Sunday, July 28th, 2013 |

  This Sunday morning I enjoyed a stroll through the village next to our hospital where patients and families await their consultations, treatments, and rehabilitation. Look carefully at this scene. Some people are shivering, for it’s only about 50 degrees F. In the center a silver pot of cornmeal is boiling on a rudimentary charcoal […]

Right Of Conscience – Angola Day 11

Saturday, July 27th, 2013 |

  A time-tested right of conscience for healthcare professionals is the offering of free or discounted care to people in need. Prior the advent of managed care in the 1980s it was common for hospitals and healthcare professionals in the US to give such assistance on a case-by-case. But outside of an emergency department, today’s […]

Where Children Belong – Angola Day 10

Friday, July 26th, 2013 |

  A hospital attendant uncharacteristically approached me as I stepped out of the Jeep this morning. “Doctor Nicolau, we have a case for you in emergency.” His worry was justified. The child is just six years old, and I found him unconscious, with heaving respirations, and totally limp on exam. His BP only 60/0 and […]

Imagine A 37 Year Commitment – Angola Day 9

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 |

  My colleague, Steve Foster, is a renowned Canadian surgeon. In 1975, he and his classy wife Peggy arrived in Angola in one of the bloodier phases of this nation’s civil war. As a young physician right out of tropical medicine school I enjoyed a six-month residency on site at Kalukembe Hospital under Dr. Foster’s […]

Newborns With Malaria – Angola Day 8

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 |

  This morning the mother of this two-week old girl declared “My baby Estele suddenly stopped nursing and now her entire body is limp!” Sure enough, the girl’s temp was quite low, her pulse rapid, and reflexes very poor. In North America we would be very suspicious of sepsis or pneumonia. But this is the […]

Taking A Hit For The Team – Angola Day 7

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 |

  Angola was home of one of Africa’s longest running wars: 1961-2003. The use of child soldiers was not only common but accepted an a norm of combat. Yesterday I was consulted by a man, Feliciano, who as a soldier in 1999 was shot in the hip. As you can see, the bullet destroyed his […]

Mental Illness In Africa? – Angola Day 6

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 |

  Picture this: I’m seeing a stream of people suffering from malaria, typhoid fever, deep bone infections, stroke, skin cancer, and then… “Doctor, I can’t sleep, I hear voices constantly, my entire body is burning, my brain is splitting open, and people want to kill me.” The spectrum and burden of mental illness in poorer […]