Monday, October 15, 2012

Many hats

Being a medical missionary requires one to step outside of their comfort zone from time to time.  Tues night was one of those nights.  Susan told me during the day that we were down an ATO (Anesthesia Training Officer) and so if there was a Csection that night, I would be the one to be giving anesthesia and our PNG surgeon who has been covering this month while Jim is on his Home Assignment would be there to help with the Csection.

I have worn many hats since coming here 5 yrs ago, and my scope of Family Practice has become quite broad.  I do orthopedics, oncology, neonatology, obstetrics, radiology, surgery and more each day.  I regularly give Ketamine to patients for procedures in the ER, but giving a spinal and monitoring a patient during surgery, doing real anesthesia hasn't been one of my regular hats.  Thankfully, I got to spend some of Tues working with Petrus, our lone ATO, going over the spinal protocol and talking about and through the possible complications that could come up, finding out where we kept things, and how to use the anesthesia machine.

After working with Petrus for part of 2 surgeries, one of which was a Csection, I felt prepared to handle a Csection if it should come up.  The call came at 0515 that a mom who had 2 prior csections was in labor and needed another section.  As I was getting dressed, I was going over my checklist of all that I needed to do for the spinal and what I was monitoring, etc.  Bill volunteered to help as needed, so I called him and Stanley to do the Csection as I did the anesthesia.  Praise God it all went well and a new baby girl was welcomed into our world on Wednesday morning in PNG.  I don't want to do this every night I am on call, but am glad to have another hat that I can put on and be able to help out when needed.

We will likely be down an ATO for a period of time, so if there are any anesthesia folks out there who would like to come and help us for a period of time, feel free to email Dr. Andy Bennett, our volunteer coordinator, at