Last Day of Surgery at Bugando Medical Centre and Our Journey Home

Well today will be our last day at the hospital and children's homes. We then will pack tomorrow and will fly back to Arusha in early afternoon. Our day started early with listening to he resident physicians discuss the cases that they admitted during the evening. The physicians and instructors asked them questions or shall I say drilled them about what they did and why…tests done..etc. Dr. Mark Wheeler told the pre-med students with us that this is what med school is like and it brought back bad memories for him. We then went to the wards to do rounds with the orthopedic physicians and residents. We were able to assess the patients we had one surgery on the previous days. The scenes in the wards are unlike the hospital rooms in the states. They have big open wards with 1-2 patients per bed. They have homemade bone traction devices with a sack of rocks for the weights. I am amazed at the limited equipment they have but what they use works. Mark and I commented on what a great job they do for the limited resources that they have. Mark consulted them on the cases. We then went to surgery to do a very difficult case. This is a case that we typically will see and her story is quit compelling. She was a 32 year old female that had been riding on the back of a motorcycle and it hit a traveling car head one. She has multiple lacerations on her face, a broken jaw, some of her bottom teeth were gone and some were pushed down into her jaw. Then she had an open wound in her leg with a leg and hip fracture. The sad thing about this case was that the lady was brought to her home after the accident and kept there for 2 days. This lady was not conscious. We are not sure why but then was brought to a hospital and then sent to BMC where we say her. She now had an open wound in her leg that was infected and a broken leg and hip that needed repaired. Her lacerations in her face had been sutures and they still needed to fix her jaw. She had been drifting in and out of consciousness. This surgery took us about 4 hours. We first debrided the infected wound and inserted a drain and then put on an external fixator to stabilize the broken leg. Then Dr. Wheeler preceded to pin her broken hip. The orthopedic equipment they have is marginal and he worked hard to come up with the right equipment to fix the hip. With much work and a lot of prayers this lady got her hip fracture pinned and she is so lucky that Dr. Wheeler was there to help with this. This lady has a lot of healing that needs to occur but by the hands of a great orthopedic physician she was put back together. I continue to be amazed at the lack of equipment and what they can do with what they have. The rest of the team went to the children's home to help with the children. I loved hearing the stories and seeing the pictures that they shared that evening. Also as I look around the group of students, I smiled to see how each one of them as grown as a person and in their faith…and that is what these trips are all about. The next day Mark and I had meetings and were greeted by the administrator of the hospital. We discussed future plans with them and equipment needs. The staff at BMC really appreciated our donations and assistance at the hospital. They also appreciated the teaching that Mark did. The next morning we flew to Arusha and then did some shopping upon arrival. We had supper at Ahadi Lodge and at our devotions that night we discussed the trip. I asked that all of them go home and as they processed the things that had happened on the trip that they look at what and why God sent them on this trip. Saturday the team did some last minute shopping and then the packing began. There was a sense of sadness that came upon me as I finished up paying the bills and getting all the paperwork in order with my assistant Julius. The reality that I was leaving was hitting me. It is always hard to say goodbye to my many friends and family in Africa but I was feeling a sense of joy to get home and see my family. As I said my goodbyes, of course the tears came. And as we begin our long journey home we had to say goodbye to each team member as they departed at each destination. It was obvious that this team had really bonded together and it was hard to say goodbye to each of them. I again thank all the team members for their kind and giving hearts. We came to serve and received so much more that we gave. I also want to thank all the donors to helped make this trip possible and your donations helped supply the medications, medical equipment and supplies, surgeries for many patients, clothes for the children and many more things. May God bless you all and I know that you will one day be rewarded for you kindness. God bless you all. Gayle


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