Fieldset
Gunshot Wounds

The room is full of men all talking at the same time. I have to look from one to the other to find the patients. There are three patients, each with a gunshot wound. The wounds are fresh, only a few hours old. The men are all young and from the same clan.

The room is full of men all talking at the same time. I have to look from one to the other to find the patients. There are three patients, each with a gunshot wound. The wounds are fresh, only a few hours old. The men are all young and from the same clan. The circumstances of the shootings aren't clear to me, except that retribution for past events is involved. We have to work quickly; more wounded men will be arriving from the other clan involved in the shootings.

The first patient has a single small entry wound into his left scapula, no exit wound. The second has a small entry wound on one side of his ankle and a huge exit wound on the other side. Fragments of bone are clearly evident in the exit wound. His foot wobbles independent of the rest of his leg and the pulses in his foot are absent. The third patient has a gunshot wound to his right arm, his humerus is shattered and the arm flops uselessly at his side. The exit wound is also full of pieces of bone and dying muscle.

Since coming to southern Sudan, I have seen at least 20 gunshot wounds. Tragically, decades of civil war and cattle raiding have left southern Sudan awash in guns. Cattle raiding has a long history here and is often the source of armed conflict. In the distant past, arrows and spears wound be used for raiding, now it's automatic rifles.

We finish attending the three young men and wait for more wounded to arrive.