Hospital Day!

Vicki arrived late last night with Andrew and Dave from Kampala! She and Dave stayed back at the hotel to rest a little before being thrown into the grind, so to speak, and joined the team for lunch this afternoon at Hope. I went to visit the hospital this morning so that you could get a general idea of the work going on there.

We began by going into the Male Surgical Ward in the complex where Dr. Robert checked on a patient on whom he had operated earlier in the week. The man had an abscess on his neck and in his throat from rotted teeth or some other disorder. Dr. Robert had to go into the trachea, remove the abscess, and implant a tube to help with the draining and to clear his throat so that he could breath. The swelling was so bad he could not breath before Dr. Robert operated on him. Today the man, Bernard will go to surgery to have the tube removed and the rotted teeth pulled.

I shadowed Dr. Robert and Bro. Ricky for the beginning part of the day to get an idea of what their days looked like. For the most part, Dr. Robert would sit down and assess patients, then perform surgeries with the aid of several Ugandan nurses and a few of our own team nurses: JoJo Keinke, Dr. Robert’s wife Debbie Yarber, Ricky Gault, and Bekah Estes. There is also a Uganda doctor: Fiona, who performs surgeries as well. We trust her, in fact, Dr. Robert specifically requested her to work with this year.

I can see Bro. Ricky in the operation room, called the Theatre, preparing syringes and machines for operation, Debbie and JoJo are here and there, back and forth, helping in whatever way they can and getting the recovery room ready. The first surgery is slated for 9:00, so there will be a good deal of other jobs to be performed before then.

I hear a young child screaming in the hall with the other waiting patients. The parents have waited, some of them days just to be seen. The hope these doctors from America bring is something these people so desperately need. There are tracts at the ready in the recovery room and the machines are being prepared. An orderly list of patients for the day is on the door of the recovery room, through which you have to walk to reach the theatre. Dr. Robert is down the main hall in the consultation room, seeing people, and everyone else is everywhere doing everything you could possibly imagine to make ready for a day of operation in a local Ugandan hospital.

When the surgeries began there were two procedures occurring simultaneously in two different rooms. Dr. Robert performed an adenoid hypertrophy, while the nurses and Dr. Fiona removed a foreign object from a child’s ear in the recovery area. Dr. Robert came to oversee the procedure after the object had been removed and the ear cleaned with saline, and operated the suction machine to get rid of the saline. The patient from the theatre, Betty, was brought to the recovery room and placed in the care of JoJo and Debbie.

The hospital is very efficient and very professional though it appears informal. These people are skilled at what they do, they just need a little direction, instruction to perform their tasks more effectively and safer. That is part of the responsibility the medical team has; not only to help the patients, but to train the doctors to better help their people.

Also, I see the smiles on the faces of the medical team, and it catches on to the Uganda hospital staff and even the patients. These young children see the love that these American doctors have for them and it causes them to not be so afraid of them. Our medical staff are not just doctors and nurses, they are the hands, the feet, and the smiles of God to these people.

I think I’ve gather most of the information on the hospital that I need. I’ll head to hope to check in the progress there.

The work at Hope did not kick-off until I arrived. However, that was only because there was no paint with which to paint the front room. When the paint arrived we had just enough time before lunch to lay on the first coat of primer. After lunch Andrew took every available person with him to pick the corn from the field out back. Then came Okiru: the rain. Yes, we got rained out at Hope and the medical clinic at Nakatunya. We’re heading back to Akello because there really isn’t much left for us to do. On the way back, we dropped Michelle Bain, Wes Yarber, and Melodie Estes off at the hospital. Now for much needed rest before a big day tomorrow.

Keep up with our trip on Facebook by following the Hope Missions International page, and follow my personal blog: for different perspectives.

–Jared Allen