We have had an incredible two days here in Carpenter where our entire team is stationed on the NEA compound. Without the need to travel and set up each day our clinics are swelling to record numbers.
David explained to us that our reputation has gone far and we have had patients from over 400 miles arriving at the Carpenter gate. To give you an idea of the scope of the past two days, 1300 patients were seen in the medical, dental and eye clinic and at least another 1000 received vitamins and deworming by our front line triage nurses Sandra, Janet and Lauren. The surgeons have completed 241 surgeries to date. We are just so thankful for each and every team member that works so hard to make it possible to see this many patients in need of care.
Tonight, our local Ghanaian Dr. Nina thanked our team so much, reminding us that there are more doctors on our team than in the entire Northern Region of Ghana. She is already recruiting her colleagues to join us for next year. The district Director of Health Services for this region toured our clinic today and has written a letter to the doctors in the North to come and train with us in the future. It is so wonderful to see these opportunities for the transfer of skills unfolding as we build relationships with the local nurses and medical assistants and government leaders.
Each evening at dinner we share with one another some of our most interesting cases of the day. We have seen so much. Dr. Joe took off a disfiguring facial cyst off a woman today and she was just so excited to get back to her village to show her husband after all of these years of covering her face.
Our eye team is seeing and treating a number of patients with trachoma, which is one of the leading causes of blindness and is so easily treatable. They shared a very moving story and video of a little boy with congenital cataracts who was blind but could “see” their light and was trying to play with it as it passed over his eyes. He would cry when the light would disappear so Dr. Martin and Charlie sent their light home with mom as it was the only toy he could ever see. Arrangements are being made for this boy to get the surgery he needs with the funds we have raised this year.
Our dental team is very busy. They extracted 56 teeth today that were causing so much pain and suffering. These can be very difficult extractions and they often need to use the drill. All this is being done under the mango tree with beautiful ripe mangoes hanging down all over the branches.
Our physicians are being challenged with many things we just do not see at home … things like Leishmaniasis and Elephantiasis. We have to rely heavily on our physical exam skills to make correct diagnoses without the aid of lab work and our x-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans that we are so used to having at our fingertips! Our nurses are very busy screening the crowds for the sickest of the sick, doing diagnostic testing and running a full nursing station/ward/emergency room under a gazebo. Today it was a trauma bay as a motorcycle hit 2 pedestrians nearby. Thankfully everyone is ok.
Our sickest patient today was a young man of 35 years who was found at the gate in severe pain with a strangulated hernia and septicemia near death. When the surgeons performed an emergency surgery they found sixty centimeters of dead, gangrenous bowel forcing them to do an emergency laparotomy (open up his abdomen) and bowel resection (remove the dead bowel and reattach it). This is not a surgery we would normally do here but there was no choice but to try as he was dying and would never have survived transferring him to hospital. Dr. Magdi and Dr. Tony and his team did everything they could to save him. He survived the surgery and he is stable tonight but we really need to pray for this man who is in critical condition under our care here in Carpenter. He is too critical to transfer.
Tomorrow is our last day of clinic and we plan to finish with a bang. We will try for one more update prior to departure.