Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Physics & Arts and Crafts

Among the first week or two I was here, Stephen (another physician here) told me "being a medical missionary is not so much what you learned in medical school or residency as it is about Physics and Arts and Crafts."
You know what I've found? He's right.
  • Want to do a lumbar puncture? Ask for the LP tray. Go ahead, we'll get a chuckle out of it. Now go find a 21 G needle, a syringe, sterile gloves, betadine, and some gauze. If it's an adult, we do have spinal needles.
  • Want to do a thoracentesis or paracentesis? Go find a 16 G IV needle, IV tubing, and a foley bag. And a syringe if you want labs. No pigtail catheter, no vacu-tainer. If the effusion or ascites is big enough, it actually drains pretty fast.
  • Want to do surgery? Has it been sunny? Is there enough solar power for the whole surgery? Do you need a generator for more power? Who do you call to turn it on and how long will it take for him to get here? Do you need the generator that supplies 110V or 220V power?  Which oxygen concentrator goes with which power supply? If the fuse blows, how do you reset it? 
Stephen explained all these things to me when I first got here. Being as physics was my least favorite course in college, all I can remember of the electrical information is this:
"Blah blah blah...flux capacitor...blah blah blah...80 mph...blah blah blah...time travel...blah blah blah...Delorian."

Perhaps I should take a refresher course before the next time I'm on call...

1 comment:

annettedkf said...

Sounds like you need someone like your Grampa Kardatzke there to insure that you have the proper power from what ever source. He would have loved this sort of challenge.