After the surgeons have decided that we can operate on a child, the patient and his/her parent go to the anesthesiologists, who decide if the child can withstand anesthesia safely. To find out, the patient's parent or guardian is asked a series of questions about the child's relevant medical history, allergies, and state of health. Then stats such as weight, heart rate, iron level, etc. are collected to make sure that the blood can clot to mitigate the bleeding.
This is a pretty extensive interview, and one that has to be held over the cacophony of the patients in the waiting room, babies upset at having lights flashed in their eyes and a whole litany of other noises. Plus, the conversation has to be translated through one or more people, since some of our translators do not speak the local dialect perfectly.
Due to technical difficulties, I can't post the video clip that I wanted to show you. In it, Dr. David Fitzgerald, one of our anesthesiologists, is talking with a patient's mother with the help of Echo. Echo is one of quite a few Chinese people who have volunteered to be extra translators to help ease the burden on Nancy (also known as Jiahue) Li and Bill Chiang, our two official trip coordinator/translators. Echo comes from Beijing, which is about two hours away by airplane, and when she heard about the work that we were doing, she decided to come to Chongqing to see if she could help out. Her help has been invaluable, and we really feel lucky to have so many translators on hand. When the doctors needed passport-sized pictures printed out for their temporary medical licenses, Echo and Ding (another volunteer translator) went with me on the public bus to take me to the closest shop and print the pictures as fast as possible. With their help, I was back at the hospital in 60-90 minutes. Without them, it might have taken me all morning to navigate Beibei in search of a photo printing store, tried to explain what I wanted and tried to find the right transportation. Bill and Nancy are too invaluable to be pulled away from the hospital, so having extra people to help out has really come in handy quite a few times.