Friday, 1 July 2011

Observing Surgery...

Mercy Ships crew have a rare privilege of being able to sign up to observe a surgery once every field service. Since the last time I observed surgery was almost exactly three years ago, I felt it was definitely time to see for myself the physical healing occurring in our Hospital.

So this past Monday I donned scrubs and headed for the Operating Rooms where my surgeon friend Dr Mark Shrime was undertaking a max-fax tumour removal. But before I entered his OR, I first witnessed a couple of cataract removals. This is such a simple procedure that the surgeon, from start to finish, is able to complete the surgery in eleven minutes flat! And it is really special that these people who were once blind can now see!

I then made my way into Dr Mark's OR where the tumour removal was getting underway. This tumour had caused the lower jaw and teeth of this young girl to be pushed out of place, and thus the skilled surgeon had to remove both tumour and lower jaw. He replaced the jaw with a titanium plate - the new jaw (with bone from the hip) will be grafted on this plate in the coming months. Even as they stitched the face together again the transformation was already visible!

The last surgery I witnessed was a hernia repair and that was also very interesting. I am so in awe of our skilled surgeons who perform many operations every day. They are true heroes.

My trip to observe surgery really showed me what an amazing honour it is to serve here on the Africa Mercy. As a non-medical crew member I can sometimes forget why we are here, but this brought it right home again! There is healing happening on those wards, and those who were outcasts will now lead productive lives! This excites me!

Skilled hands at work in the Operating Theatre.

Surgeons, anaesthesiologist, and nurses all hard at work.

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