Today was my second day at Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital. I am working in the Emergency Room, or casualty as they call it here. It is a very interesting, eye opening experience. The ER is very old and worn down. It is very small for the number of patients they see.
This morning I arrived at 8am. The day shift is 8am to 2pm. There is no overnight physician. I asked the head nurse what they do for the patients at night, and she said the nurses treat the patients.
During my shift, a 20-year-old female arrived in severe respiratory distress. She was walking but was assisted by her parents. She had a large amount of swelling to her neck and under her jaw. Several nursing students were working with me today and had never seen a patient in such extreme distress. The ENT physician came and was arranging to take her immediately to the operating theatre. Unfortunately the patient died from a blocked airway, about 20 minutes after arriving. Her parents said she had been sick for several days and had been taking her to the local herbalist. They finally brought her to the hospital but, sadly, it was too late.
Also unfortunate is the fact that although Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital is a very large facility, their casualty department does not have the capability to resuscitate a person that is sick. Everything I have seen so far has made me appreciative of all I have in the U.S. to work with. But it also inspires me to do as much as I can, for as long as I can, to improve the quality of health care being provided here in this corner of the world.
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