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« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

A Single Tear

A Single Tear
Originally uploaded by interplast

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: We have all noticed how stoic and brave these children are. They do not seem any less afraid than other children, and some do throw a total fit when we take them back (all done without sedation), but many others swallow their fear and hold it in, possibly betrayed only by a small tear, a trembling lip, or a shake. Imagine how it must feel to be taken away from one's family by people you have never met, can't understand, and all you may know is that something is going to be done that will probably hurt.

Too Poor To Afford Buttons

Originally uploaded by interplast

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: Looking closely at this child as he had his dressing changed, I noticed the buttonholes were tied with string. Can you imagine being too poor to afford buttons? We had one earlier during the first week with string on the belt loops of his pants; he had no belt

How To Quiet A Malian Baby

Swaddled Baby
Originally uploaded by interplast

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: This little baby had amniotic bands, which constrict a limb from birth and prevent normal growth. Only a few months old, hopefully she can catch up on some of her growth and lose the swelling in the left foot. She was crying and fussing, so our coordinator Manon wrapped her up on her back like the locals do and the baby quieted right down. Nice and close!

Hand Surgery: From Non-Functional to Useful

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: A little girl was to have her hand fixed, and she was so cute. Many of the hand problems that we repair change a hand from non-functional to useful. Not all end up looking like a normal hand, but thumb function in opposition to the fingers and the grasping function of the fingers might be provided. Suddenly they have the potential to function with two hands, which may mean they can work, provide basic functions at home for themselves, and embrace their world.

Previous Patient Gives Thanks

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist:  One day the phone rang and the lady at the desk said there was a man here to see me.  I went downstairs to the lobby, and it was a patient from two years ago. He had a photo of him after his operation, and asked me about each care-giver in the photo. He had had his lip repaired by Roberto and was quite happy with the result. I think he had a tumor on his lip, was a professor of history, and a very sweet middle-aged man. Anyway, he got to see myself, Scott and Jacques, and I told him the rest of the team was not here this year. But we will let them know!  It's always nice to be able to receive a patient's gratitude.

Congratulations Oumar!

Oumar and Massaran
Originally uploaded by interplast

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: Congratulations to Dr. Oumar Coulibaly, Interplast's partner in training and his bride Massaran! They got married during the weekend between the two weeks we were performing surgery in Mali. He was kind enough to invite us to his wedding. Everyone at Interplast is very fond of Oumar and we wish him all the best in his marriage.

Trusting and Stoic

A Little One
Originally uploaded by interplast

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: These kids are amazing. They spend most of their early life wrapped close on their mothers' backs, and have such a close sense of personal space. When we hold them in our lap to breathe them to sleep, rather than kick, push away, or have a tantrum, they give in and lean into us much sooner and closer than I am used to back home. They wander all over the neighborhoods as soon as they can walk, and have large extended families that include neighbors and friends. Very different sense of trust and community. There really have been very few children who have fought us, and it humbles me to watch them be so stoic through this experience.

Verathon Glidescope

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist:  Verathon was kind enough to let us use a Glidescope Ranger. This is a very portable video scope that allows us to place tubes in people that otherwise might be too difficult to do. We have used it many times, but three times it proved to be critical. I think we all have used it now and are very thankful to have it.

Working Side By Side

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist:

Our day was long, but many medical visitors came and went. We had several of the surgical trainees working with us. To see them learn and work side by side with like professionals who do not always speak the same language is gratifying. Everyone gets along, finds a way to communicate, and works together on the common goal of patient care.

Boy Gives Handshakes And Hugs

Bamako, Mali - Bonnie MacEvoy, anesthesiologist: On our second day, a little boy wandered into the operating area and was giving out handshakes and hugs. He was not due to have surgery, just curious and friendly. His visit set us up for a great day.

Global Health