Nicholas Comninellis

My Posts

July 2013

2013 Angola

Cross-Cultural Compassion – Angola Day 15

  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 […]

2013 Angola

Surprise Survivor – Angola Day 14

  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.

2013 Angola

Who Is Comforting Who? – Angola Day 13

  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

2013 Angola

Who Is In Your Waiting Room? – Angola Day 12

  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

2013 Angola

Right Of Conscience – Angola Day 11

  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

2013 Angola

Where Children Belong – Angola Day 10

  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

2013 Angola

Imagine A 37 Year Commitment – Angola Day 9

  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

2013 Angola

Newborns With Malaria – Angola Day 8

  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

2013 Angola

Taking A Hit For The Team – Angola Day 7

  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

2013 Angola

Mental Illness In Africa? – Angola Day 6

  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

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