I had to meet Prof A at the reception of the hospital at 7.15hrs. He was to introduce me to the people in the surgical department. As I stood there nervous wondering what the day would be like. I looked around this newly built hospital. It was pretty impressive. A far cry from my beloved UTH in Lusaka. Its corridors were sparkling clean. It didnâ€™t even smell like a hospital!
â€œDr. K.N,â€I heard his frail voice say.
â€œOh! good morning Prof A,â€I responded.
â€œShall we proceed to the surgical meeting,â€ he said hurriedly. We walked through immaculate wards, took an elevator to the 4th floor. Very impressive I thought. I was always terrified of those old un-serviced elevators at UTH. I was always close to having a panic attack when I was in Dr. Kasebas unit and had to use an elevator to get to ward C. Prof A lead me to a conference room full of surgeons. I felt their eyes on me as I slipped into a chair in the front. The only free chair had to be in front!
There was an intern presenting the patients she had admitted the previous night. She was describing how she performed an appendicectomy. I felt intimidated. All I had done on my own as an intern were I&Ds and MUAs! Most operations I just assisted or observed!
I remembered the story Dr.S.Banda had told us in 3rd year, about how he went to the U.K and people thought he was brain dead but soon got to know he was deadly brain! When the consultants started â€œwiringâ€, I realized I knew the answers after all.
I was later put in a unit. The people were unfriendly and conducted the ward round in their local language. They took no notice of me. I told myself I wasnâ€™t going to put up with that and sneaked out of the round. I went to the trauma unit headed by a Ugandan neuro-surgeon. His medical officer was Ghananian. They were glad to have me and I stayed in that unit for the rest of my rotation in surgery!
The surgical department was far from organized. You would get doctors on call running clinics simultaneously and forgetting the emergency cases in the casualty wards .I appreciated the way the surgical department was organized when I was at UTH.
There was one case where a young man had been brought to the casualty after being assaulted. He was not fully examined and only left on ringers lactate for about 8hrs.
Whilst seeing another patient we accidentally saw this patient whose Glasgow coma scale was falling. Apparently the patient had been shot in the back and the admitting doctor had missed it! It was then I really appreciated Prof Krikor, who taught us to always examine a patient fully! I thought no U.T.H trained doctor would have made such a blunder! From then on I walked with my head high as I acquired a new confidence.
Though I was trained in a dilapidated hospital which had no drugs and high tech equipment, the way I treat my patients is far superior than those trained in this world class hospital!