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AusHeal Blog

Wednesday in Goma

Dear friends,
Wednesday morning here in Goma – all ready for a full day ahead.We are all well and the new team members are establishing themselves in Emergency and Intensive Care.

ANAESTHETICS department:
The senior Anaesthetist and the most experienced Anaesthetic nurse have both left HEAL Africa, leaving a very inexperienced team of anaesthetic nurses. Dr Anthony has to re-establish some basic teaching content necessary with them for the ongoing surgical work conducted at HEAL Africa Hospital. It is  foundational they learn how to think through processes and understand WHY they need to do what he is teaching them to do. This is one of the biggest challenges in education in Africa – process thinking rather than rote.
Today Neil is scheduled to operate on 2 or 3 very big goitres – one would be the second biggest he has ever done (the biggest being Nyota back in 2007 for those who may remember back then!) Dr Luc can now do the standard goitre surgeries, so these 2 or 3 will be quite taxing for Neil and Luc.
Thursday Neil is doing the first of the very difficult oesophageal surgeries (Fanny was the first and then he did another one last year). This is on a 21-year old male who thought he was drinking water but in fact it was acid (the bottle was not labelled). The surgery involves moving the bowel from the stomach to the neck through the chest. It is risky, being done in this environment. The first 2 of these surgeries went well, so we are praying for skill, stamina, wisdom and alertness for the surgical/anaesthetic team. These operations take about 5-6 hours.
Friday and Monday Neil will do the same oesophageal surgery on 2 children – one is 2 ½ and the other about 4. He is not experienced in paediatric surgery, so we are praying that God would equip him to cope with the surgery itself and the emotional strain of operating on children (his father/grandfather heart kicks in here and he finds this challenging!!!)
There are probably about 5 more with the same oesophageal condition – so Dr Luc and Neil need wisdom to know who to prioritise.
Emergency & Intensive Care staff – with our 3 new team members getting alongside the Congolese doctor and nurses. We hope for good relationships and trust to be established, and again that the hospital staff will understand the need to think through WHY they do things, and then actually do them!! Sometimes they do know what to do, they just don’t do it – other times they just don’t know that they don’t know the right thing to do.
Cheryl is heading up the Nursing members of the team. She is doing a good job of co-ordinating the other 2 nurses on team. We are hoping for a good relationship with the senior nursing staff at the hospital – that they will be able to learn from her and in turn further develop and advance nursing skills and procedures.
Radiology team members, Murray & Sue, always just ‘pick up where they left off last time’. They are very regular team members with already established relationships with the radiology staff here. They are a vital part of the whole multi-disciplinary approach and good diagnostic skills are so important.
Team co-ordination is progressing reasonably okay – I (Gwen) am endeavouring to ensure that the needs of the team are met. Bits & pieces of background admin stuff to do.
Dr Miriam Lee (Obs/Gyn from Gold Coast) will be travelling to Congo Friday/Saturday. She will be here for 1 week. Hopefully the border crossing will be smooth for her, unlike the difficulties we experienced last Saturday.

We greatly value your support.  Greetings from all the team,