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August 2012 (1)

A favorite little patient

Written by Antje on August 3rd 2016 21:06

I wrote my last newsletter in the middle of ramadan, which now seems like a long time ago. We are now in the middle of the rainy season and in our area people are pleased with the amount of rain we have had this year. The water level in the pond on the hospital complex has risen and the rice fields are wet. Rice will be planted in the next few weeks.

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My work in the hospital continues. I have a full schedule of operations and my office visits are full. In addition to this my management responsibilities require a lot of attention. I continue to remind myself that I am responsible to handle conflicts and resolve them before they escalate. (I am not sure that I am very good in doing this) I am also responsible for hiring and firing. This gives me more stress than any of my surgical duties.

Below you see a picture of my favorite little patient at the moment. Bithi is 3,5 years old. In January I operated on her for the first time because of adhesions on her right knee after a burn wound as baby. The result from this first surgery was OK, but she still could not straighten her knee completely. So I decided to make a second attempt. Unfortunately, there was a complication so that the flap I had made died and Bithi needed a skin transplant. It took a while before her wound was ready for the transplant and during that time Bithi stole my heart. Always cheerful, incredibly brave (she took off her bandage herself) and very curious.

Just when Bithi’s wound was ready for the transplant, her father threatened to put her mother out of the house if Bithi and her mother did not come home immediately. With a heavy heart, I let them leave and assured them that they could return at any time. Fortunately one of the hospital workers heard about this. She went to Bithi's home and was able to convince her father and mother to come back to the hospital. Bithi's skin transplant operation was successful and today I could release her with a straight leg! Birthi’s story has made me realize how little control Bengali women have over their own life and the life of their children. I realized a new how important the hospital workers are in getting the support of the whole community/family. This has aan important a great effect on what we try to do. 

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