Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission 2019 – Day 4

What number patient is this again?

August 12, 2019

Day 4

Today started with a wake-up call of 6am and downstairs by 6:45 for breakfast (for most people). We all ate our fill, plus a little more, to keep us full for the busy day ahead of us. After slipping some boiled eggs and bananas into our backpacks to hand out to some of the kids we would see at the hospital later, we headed out to the hospital at 7:30am.


Upon arrival, the group split in half. Ashlee, Josh, Teisha, and Sherron headed for the surgery floor to unload the final truck-full of supplies that had come in that morning. They also made goodie bags with donated t-shirts and candy to give to the kids that had surgery these next two weeks. And they gave the operating rooms a very thorough wipe-down and got everything organized and ready to go for tomorrow’s surgeries.



Dr. Kayanja, Dr. Schaffer, and myself (Taylor), headed for the room that was set up for clinic. Already when we get there, there was rows and rows of patients lined up for clinic, each holding a slip of paper with a number on it to mark their place in line and each carrying a large folder containing most of their medical history or existing scans. Our goal for the day was to see 60 patients—and we weren’t stopping until we saw that many!


We got started around 8:30am seeing patients. One patient would come in, he or she would sit across from Dr. Kayanja, who would start looking over existing documents, and Dr. Schaffer would start looking over any imaging the patient brought in with them. Then Drs. Kayanja and Schaffer would start examining the patient, while I furiously typed down just about everything I heard. The sentences were not very coherent and some of the “science-y” words were so misspelled that even autocorrect couldn’t fix it! This continued until about 7pm—no breaks for these hardworking doctors! By the end of the day we had seen 61 patients, one more than our goal. We also saw many patients twice, because we sent them for imaging and then had the patients come back in to read their results. So, our real total was definitely more than 61 clinic visits. There were over 100 patients lined up that day, so we decided that in order to see them all we would hold clinic outside the surgical floor during our breaks. By the end of the day, we ended up booking 13 cases for surgery this week and 3 for surgery next week when the second team comes. There were also many patients we were waiting to see recent imaging from before deciding to schedule them for operations, which would have to be next week—so Team 2 is busy already and they haven’t even gotten here year!



One of my favorite things from today was seeing how much the other doctors and students here want to learn, and how much our team wants to teach them! I think that’s what makes a successful mission—building the capacity of the people who are here all the time, so that the people and patients continue to benefit long after we leave.

We wrapped up the day with another yummy (late!) dinner at the hotel before turning in and getting some sleep before our long day tomorrow, with four surgical cases and clinic in between.

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