May 22nd

May 22, 2019

I knew I was going to scrub in on my first surgery this morning. Like any decent student I tried to prepare myself a little by trying to gain some sort of insight on the anatomy of the lower extremities. We arrived to Selian Hospital and attended chapel before participating in a shoulder pathology lecture presented by Dr. Brian Johnson. The lecture was very insightful and I took notes on the presentation.

After Dr. Johnsons presentation, we took a tour around the surgical ward to see some post operation patients from the procedures done yesterday. During this tour we got news that there has been a trauma case and an emergency operation was needed. The patient had been in a motorcycle crash and fractured his femur and tibia. We went to the OR and they prepped him for surgery. I was taught how to scrub in properly and become sterile. I knew I really wanted to work on this surgery. The time finally came and the patient was prepped and stable. The surgical team and I scrubbed in and began the surgery after we cleaned the patients wound. The team was lead by one of the best Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Brian Johnson. My time had finally come. The few moments before we started the operation was like the quiet scene in a war movie before an intense battle. It felt as if though I was in the opening scene of the film Saving Private Ryan, about to storm the beaches of Normandy. My first job was to hold the patients leg in place.  The patient had an open fracture on the distal end of his femur just above the condyles. His Tibia had segmented fracture in the medial and inferior region. I went next to Dr. Johnson and held the patients leg in place as he attached an external fixator on the tibia and calcutaneous. Once that was done we proceeded to work on the femur. We opened up the patients thigh and burned through the fat and membrane to expose the femur. This is when I really got to work. I was able to see the fracture site in the femur an all the meat and blood on the thigh. A sense of tranquility took over me but a sense of adrenaline kicked in as well and I was completely zoned in. Dr. Johnson handed me the retractors and I held the skin flaps open while suctioning the pooling blood. He aligned the bone and fixed the fracture so it will heal and correctly before putting in a plate. I was worried that the condyles of the femur and superior articulating surfaces of the tibia where not aligned, so I asked Dr. Johnson about it and he reassured me that they are aligned and showed me the X-rays of the patient. I was able to ask so many questions during this procedure and Dr. Johnson was able to teach me and help me understand to the fullest extent. We sutured the patient up and he was ready to go. During this time I realized Dr. Johnson spoke Spanish as well and we were able to converse in Spanish after the surgery. I felt great and my mind was telling me this is where I belong; helping others through medicine.


Maddie scrubbed in for the first time with Mark Wheeler.  It is so fun to teach this group of students because they are excited and show a real interest in learning.  Fun to teach them all how to scrub, gown, glove and maintain sterility.  Such a great team.  

Two of the team members attended hospice and saw 4 patients and their families.  They love what a holistic approach they have with the families.  It was emotional and spiritual day for them because they saw a patient that had a large open wound where cancer has literally eaten away her breast.  That is the sadness we see, because of all the people we see that were not able to get to a doctor or had no money to seek help until it was too late.  For meany they hardly have any food to eat, so Hope Ministries provides them with bundles of food.  The students saw tears in their eyes as them present them with the food.  

I am so excited for the team as they are preparing to go see God’ beauty of Africa on a safari.  Mark, Halie and I are staying to continue n with two days of surgeries.  Thanks for your prayers.  Keep them coming.

Mama Gayle