Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission 2019 – Day 12

The Man with the Anesthesia has Gone

August 20, 2019

Day 12


Last week, Dr. Kayanja told us about a book written by a Ugandan physician entitled, “The Man with the Key has Gone.” In it, he describes some of the barriers to healthcare delivery in the country. One such barrier is the fact that it is so difficult to locate people and things, leading to delay and inefficiency. We definitely experienced this today. The title of our book today, though, would have been “The Man with the Anesthesia has Gone.”


We had planned a shorter day today, with only two cases that were meant to run simultaneously, as there was a Grand Round for physicians and residents that our doctors were set to present at in the afternoon. In one room we would have a fusion/instrumentation case and in the other we would have an I&D/biopsy of a large, left thoracic tumor. Dr. Sue Benton was to be the anesthesiologist for the instrumentation case while one of the Ugandan anesthesiologists worked on the biopsy patient in the adjacent room. We arrived at the hospital at 8:00am, predicting an early start shortly afterwards.


Dr. Schaffer performing an exam on a patient scheduled for surgery tomorrow.


While the team prepared for our two cases, Dr. Schaffer and I ran around the ward, rounding on previous surgical patients. Afterwards, we quickly walked (more like jogged, for me, to keep up with Nathaniel’s very long legs) back to the surgical floor, hoping that we had not missed the start of the cases. Well, we definitely did not miss them. Not even close. Dr. Benton’s case was able to start on time. However, the other case was missing an anesthesiologist. So we waited. And waited. And waited and waited and waited. Finally, around 12:30pm (over 4 hours later!), we were able to locate him and get him to come work the case.


We finished up that case just in time to head to Grand Rounds for students and physicians alike. Drs. Lieberman, Schaffer, and Hisey gave a presentation on cervical spine traumas. They gave some practical advice on diagnosing cervical spine injuries, taught what the next steps should be given a particular cervical spine injury, and presented some interesting cervical spine cases. The lecture wrapped up about 2 hours later, much to the crowd’s dismay. They had so many good questions and were so interested in learning so that they could provide the best care to their future patients.



The large crowd (plus more that came in after the photo was taken) that came to hear Drs. Lieberman, Hisey, and Schaffer.



Our fearless lecturers!


After that, it was back the clinic to view a few more x-rays that we had ordered for patients yesterday. Our total for the week so far is up to about 70 people (and it is only day 2 of seeing patients!).


We wrapped up the day with a yummy dinner at the hotel, where we were joined by Dr. Kisitu and Natasha, “Lessons of the Day,” and an early bedtime.



Yummy dinner with the whole team, plus a few extras! 9 whole fish were ordered and (surprisingly) were all ready at the same time, much faster than expected.

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