Sunday, July 25, 2010

Helicopter patient

Helicopter landings are big events here on station, everyone comes out to see the helicopter. Sometimes we know a helicopter is coming, but most often we don't. On Sat, I was on call waiting to do a Csection when a helicopter flew overhead. It sounded quite low and I heard it for a while, so I figured it probably landed. So I was expecting a call from the ER to tell me what had arrived, but after a few minutes, went to see for myself.
In the ER, I find Dr. Mike Pyle, a volunteer surgeon. He, too, had heard the helicopter and decided to check it out. We found only one pt in the ER, but it was a guy who broke his leg just up the road playing rugby, so I thought maybe there wasn't a helicopter pt. Then Esther, one of our lab folks, told me a helicopter is coming back with a lady with a retained placenta from the Jimi. Apparently, it stopped here to pick up some people to go with them to get the pt and then would come back. Oh, ok, at this point the Csection was ready, so Maggie and I went to do that and sure enough the helicopter came just as we were finishing.
Mike came up again when he heard the helicopter return and helped to get things going while we were finishing the Csection. After the Csection I med Serah, a pastor's wife. She had her first child here at Kudjip when she lived just up the road, but now she serves with her husband in a remote area of the Jimi. She told me it is about a 18 hr walk/drive here. So today, she was walking on the road when her water broke and she had her 2nd baby girl, but the placenta didn't follow. Thankfully, she knew some people in Goroka who arranged for a helicopter to go
and get her and bring her to us. I am not sure how it all worked out, but somehow Esther knew about this, and got one of our workers and students to go in the helicopter to get the patient. Too bad they didn't ask me, I wouldn't have minded going.
Thankfully, Serah did well. She got here quick enough, that although she had lost some blood, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We gave her some IV fluids and blood and then I was able to remove the placenta. Thankfully, both her and baby are doing well. They probably won't get a nice helicopter ride back to the Jimi, but thankfully they will be going together as a family of 4.