Nov 19 2010
November 19, 2010
by Greg Schnepper, M.D.
Vanderbilt International Anesthesia
While it feels as if I just arrived, I can't believe I will be heading back home tomorrow. What a phenomenal experience this has been. This month has not only had a high impact on my education, but has been a unique, once in a lifetime experience. I say once in a lifetime, but I certainly hope this is not the case. I would love and certainly hope that I will be back to visit Kijabe in the future.
Much of our time here has been spent working with the student nurse anesthetists. My co-resident and I have helped conduct their practical exams, have provided intraoperative teaching, and have given them lectures while rotating through the icu. Their education is vitally important, as when they become nurse anesthetists many of them will be in parts of Africa where they are the sole anesthesia provider.
We have also spent a fair amount of time teaching regional anesthesia. One nurse anesthetist has shown an inordinate enthusiasm for nerve blocks, and it has been a joy teaching her. I have provided a picture of the two of us performing a nerve block using ultrasound, something that will surly help patients with postoperative pain relief.
Our experience has also included time rotating through the intensive care unit. While taking call in the ICU, I helped take care of a very sick 8 year old boy. The boy had severe respiratory failure and sepsis, requiring an emergent exploratory laparotomy operation. I helped provide anesthesia during the surgery. Sadly, the boy passed away. His death was devastating, and it is often difficult or impossible to find any silver lining in events like this. But I did take away hope by the passion shown by all those involved in taking care of the child. Our team of anesthetists, nurses, pediatric surgeons, and critical care intensivists did all we could to save this child, but sadly he was just too sick. The deep desire of the people here to help those in need is unparalleled. The passion shown for others is inspiring. Unfortunately, despite being one of the top tier hospitals in all of East Africa, the resources at Kijabe are often limited and lacking. But hopefully with such a strong base of people wanting to make a difference, this will continue to improve. My experience at Kijabe has been touching and incredible. I have been inspired, and I only hope those I've been in contact with have been too. I can't wait to come back.