It’s Sunday, early evening in Rutshuru, and I am on overnight call at the hospital. It’s cooling down outside, my guess to about 67°F, and the sky is turning a reddish hue in the west.
This morning I worked in the Bloc from 8am until 1pm. We did seven cases including two dressing changes under anesthesia for burned children, debridement of a hip abscess in a one-month-old, drainage of a breast abscess for a breast-feeding mother, irrigation and closure of lacerations for two different trauma patients and repair of a strangulated hernia in a six-year-old boy.
As it has been during my entire career, it was emotionally moving and disturbing to see the children with burns. I suspect that most surgeons feel the same way. Both of our patients were girls with second degree burns from boiling water. One is a 21-month-old with burns over 20% of her body and the other a 10-year-old with 40% of her body surface area burned. The younger one’s burns all looked like they will heal without grafting, with some buds of skin already appearing in the burned areas but the older girl’s burns look deeper in some areas. She may need skin grafts. We will just need to wait and see and in the meantime treat the wounds to keep them clean and avoid a secondary infection.
In the afternoon, I had lunch, rested a bit and am now back at the hospital on-call. Watching the sunset, thinking about the patients from this morning, I’m grateful that my own children are safe and well. I think I’ll text them later this evening to say hi.