By Michael LeCompte
My second week ramped up pretty quickly in terms of the work flow. By this time, I had become accustomed to the hospital and knew enough about where to find supplies, lab results etc… to stop bothering the nurses and staff incessantly. The week started out with a couple of mass casualty alerts which consisted of a multi-vehicle road traffic accident one day and a taxi van wreck on another. On each occasion, we had about 8-10 people roll into the emergency department all at once. As part of the surgery team, we met the patients at the door and began to triage the patients based on their injuries. Most were fairly minor lacerations or fractures of the arms or legs. However, a few people required surgery or had traumatic brain injuries that required admission to the ICU. It was good to start off with a field of medicine that I enjoy and am familiar with (trauma and critical care) because I spent the rest of the week learning a completely new field. I started working with one of the staff surgeons and a former graduate of the PAACS residency program) who performs a lot of urologic procedures. In the US, general surgery residents do not get exposed to a lot of urologic surgery since this consists of a separate residency training program. However, in Africa, most general surgeons still perform a lot of urologic surgery. I enjoyed learning a new subset of skills and operations. Overall it was a productive week of learning and delivery of medical care.