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Preparing for plastic surgery patients

Tuesday, 02 December, 2014
Preparing for plastic surgery patients
I’m meeting with Redempta, the Head of the community health department, to discuss the team’s participation in an outreach project. Redempta had spent three months at Northumbria studying operational management and is now a member of the Tanzania Nursing and Midwifery Council. She is keen to develop a burns outreach project involving community health workers. There is a high number of motorcycle injuries in the area and we discussed how the team could perhaps support an information event, organised by the traffic commissioner and local police, to address road traffic safety issues. This is particularly important as Tanzania does not have an ambulance service and first aid knowledge would be very valuable. High visibility vests could also come in handy, especially as some motorcycles on the roads at night don’t seem to have lights. In the theatre department everything is set up to triage the patients who are hoping to have plastic surgery. A small room is cramped with people waiting to be seen while Sue, Peter, Catherine and Meg work in teams to take down their details and assess their injuries. Peter works hard to photograph each patient’s burn injury, so that when Jeremy (the plastic surgeon) arrives on Saturday, he will be able to view the notes and photographs to decide which patients will receive treatment. It’s going to be hard to choose from so many. Just as the teams think they are completing their work they find that more patients have been waiting patiently on seats along a separate corridor. This is only day one of assessment and more people are expected to arrive tomorrow. We receive a call from Machame Hospital to expect the arrival of the 4 year old girl with the arm injury. Peter meets her at the casualty entrance and she is admitted to the burns ward. Jerome, the clinical psychologist, arrives from South Africa and the team is beginning to build for the arrival of the surgeon at the weekend.