Wednesday, June 7th

Wednesday, June 7th

Hi everyone! It’s Foster here again. Last night we picked up Dr. Pruitt at the airport, so today we were in the operating room with a few cases. Having observed in operating rooms in the US before, I was really excited to see what some of the similarities and differences were here in Tanzania. I recognized many of the same scrub techniques and surgical instruments that are also used in the US, but one major difference here was that the door to the pre and post operative area went outside! The rooms were well lit by the sun coming in through the windows too, which was also something I had never seen in the US.

The first case I observed was a young woman who had a fractured femur and needed skin grafts on her lower leg due to an infected wound. I watched Dr. Pruitt work with the residents at Selian to do the skin graft first, and I was really excited because I had heard of those procedures but I didn’t know how they were performed. The whole procedure was really interesting, and now I know just how tedious a skin graft can be, especially when the machinery isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Luckily, I was able to leave the room right as a baby was being delivered via C-section in the other OR, so I got to see that amazing moment through the window on the door as well.

While Dr. Pruitt finished up that procedure, I went outside to meet Gayle so she could walk me through the process of scrubbing in because I was going to have the opportunity to observe Dr. Roberts, one of the Tanzanian orthopedic surgeons, in surgery while standing right next to the operating table. I’ve never scrubbed in for anything procedure, so I was really excited to have such a close look at what was going on during the surgery. During this procedure, Dr. Roberts planned to remove a rod and plate from a young girl’s arm because her broken bone had been healed for a while. I got to see everything, from the initial incision to the retraction to expose the rod and plate to the screw removal, and it was such an incredible experience.


The final case I observed was a surgical debridement with Dr. Wheeler. There was a kid that the Selian hospice program saw on Monday who had an infected foot. This case was especially interesting because there wasn’t a sterile field, and instead everything just needed to be clean. This procedure was pretty short, and luckily I could see into the other OR and observe the final moments of initial case in which Dr. Pruitt and the residents were fixing the fractured femur too.

Today was a huge day, and I’m so incredibly grateful that I got to have these experiences. Having no idea what to expect, it was amazing to see all of the similarities and differences between Tanzania and the US. For example, many of the instruments were wrapped in sterilized cloth rather than plastic. Also, some of the instruments available in the US weren’t available here, so the residents, nurses, and surgeons had to get super creative with what was used during surgery, and they also had to be super conservative to ensure nothing was wasted. Overall today was absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to compare my experiences to any other shadowing experiences I have in the future.

Sending Love and Prayers, Foster