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When the Most Basic of Tools are Paramount

When the Most Basic of Tools are Paramount
December 21, 2015 No comments

by: Omeed Saghafi, MD

Chief medical editor, how2med.com, GECC Volunteer


The ECPs at Nyakibale see just over 20% pediatric patients in the ED. Many of these require some sort of invasive procedure. In most of Uganda, procedures have to be delayed for days until time is found in an operating room to sedate the child and perform the procedure.

However, the ECPs are incredible. They are able to sedate a child (or any patient for that matter) while performing procedures that would otherwise go to an operating room. For instance, one small boy we saw was the victim of a RTA (road traffic accident). Half his skull had effectively been scalped, with the skin hanging off the entire right side of his head. We sedated the patient and the ECPs were able to aggressively clean the patient’s wound to make sure it did not become infected. They then diligently closed the wound. When they were done it looked as if a plastic surgeon had performed the repair in a fancy operating room.

Taking care of patients during sedation requires close monitoring. There are no fancy monitors and so taking frequent vital signs using the most basic tools such as a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope becomes paramount. I do not know what was being done when there was only one semi-functional blood pressure cuff in the department, but can only assume either the monitoring during sedation would be inadequate or other patients would have to wait, neither of which is optimal. Thanks to MDF instruments, the patients can receive appropriate and close monitoring while new patients can continue to receive rapid care.

Dr. Omeed Saghafi is one of dozens of doctors who has made it a commitment to serve on-the-ground to provide care and train health workers in resource poor regions. In the last month, he has corresponded and shared stories straight from the Emergency Room in Nyakibale Hospital as he serves with The Global Emergency Care Collaborative (GECC). A chief medical editor at how2med.com and former biotech bioengineer, Dr. Saghafi is passionate about bringing awareness to sustainable International Medicine models. To learn about GECC and its efforts to sustainably provide quality emergency care in resource limited settings please visit their site here.

Posted in: blog