January 15th—History Made at BMC—First Regional Block Anesthetic by US Team

We have arrived in Mwanza and will be working here for the week.  A beautiful city located along beautiful Lake Victoria.  Extremely excited the Vikings won!!!!  They had to win, we have fans cheering them on here in Africa.  It was hard not to be able to watch the game.  Gayle

Monday, Jan 15th

Hi everyone! This is Derek today. This week we are splitting up with some of us going to Bugando Hospital while the rest of us are going to Fonelisco Orphanage.

Hailey spent most of the day with the ENT doctors in clinic. She said the clinic was much less chaotic than the last hospital we were at. She said it felt more like what we are used to in the US. She performed her first hearing test, which was very exciting.

Crystal was impressed by the education that the anesthesia people had. They seemed much more experienced and knew what they were doing more than at other places. Although the anesthesia department was not too busy today but will hopefully be busier as the week goes on.


Jake followed Dr. Mark around. It was Jake’s saddest day because there were many children’s cases that will end in amputation most likely. He brought up quite a few cases in which there will probably be amputations. A lot of them were because cast had been put on too tight, so the circulation was cut off. He also noticed a number of femur fractures here. One man had broken both femurs, one 16 years ago and one a few months ago. It is amazing the type of pain these people can endure.

Mikayla with Mark as well. She also said it was a sad day. They saw two people in one hospital bed because there is no room to put people. There were quite a few cancer patients as well, but the young kids was hardest to see. She got to scrub in on her first surgery and “didn’t pass out.” She said she was worried about it, but felt fine during the surgery. The surgery she saw was an Ankle Reconstruction with regional Block.

Ryan witnessed the first regional block at Bugando Hospital which was used in the surgery Mikayla scrubbed in on. Otherwise most of the day was not very eventful. There was only one surgery that had the anesthesia so most of the day was waiting around. He also noticed the people there were very eager to learn what our doctors had to say to them.

Dr. Sarah Powell here. We held ENT clinic here. This is the 2nd time I’ve been here and today was much more manageable than the first time. We saw a reasonable number of patients and each one was a challenge. We signed up several surgeries – thyroid, tonsils, neck mass, sinus cyst. The next few days will be busy in the operating room. I am continuously torn between wanting to do everything I possibly can to help these people yet realizing the limitations of equipment, financial constraints, family strain, etc. It is similar to considerations with my patients at home yet magnified immensely. Each case was a wonderful teaching experience for the residents as well. Time to rest up for some long days ahead.

Dr. Marni Johnson, our audiologist lectured on hearing science and basic audiology – a requirement for the residency curriculum. It was exciting to see the audiometer and tympanometer is being used. She continued to teach about masking and more advanced testing. She and the residents tested many patients after I saw them. It was nice to see a full circle for these patients.

The rest of us went to a local orphanage called Fonelisco. The orphanage is run by a gentleman named Joseph. He is the most appreciative and grateful person I have ever met. He was so happy to see us there. They house 58 kids from ages 3 to 19. There are only 2 small buildings where the children live. They also have a small outdoor kitchen, a classroom and an office there. When we got there most of the kids were still at school so it was pretty quiet. We went out to buy food for them including 60 kg of rice and 60 kg of beans. After lunch the primary school students arrived back at the orphanage. We spent some time using the coloring books, which they all seemed to enjoy. Rachael and Devin did their teaching projects together. They taught about how to wash hands and how to properly shower. The children were all very attentive and grateful to receive gifts as small as soap. One child that stood out to us was a three year old boy who was picked up by the police off of the street and brought to the orphanage. It is sad to hear that things like that happen to innocent children like him. It was both a sad and happy experience being there. It is sad to see how many children do not have a family of their own. But we can see that Fonelisco is taking great care of the kids there and provide food, shelter and a new family for these children.