Why I Paed

il_fullxfull.1060268322_b3xh_1b44cb32-38e5-43f0-83cd-e66691807124_grandeWhenever I talk about my love for child health, and my intention to pursue it as a career, I get this kind of response:

“Oh, I could never work with kids. It just breaks my heart to see them suffer!”

I don’t get it. Continue reading “Why I Paed”


Working in the Land of Milk and Honey

I recently realised that some of my posts have disappeared into thin air. I’m not sure how, but I’m reposting them courtesy of the web archive.

By some kind of dumb luck, I am doing my Community Service posting at an incredible children’s hospital in Cape Town, rather than the archetypal middle-of-nowhere clinic post we all expect for ComServe.

And it’s incredible.

This hospital is just something else. It’s public, but has so much private funding that it might as well be a private hospital. It gets a lot of private patients so clearly I’m not alone in my perception.

Some things that continue to blow my mind: Continue reading “Working in the Land of Milk and Honey”

One Year On

Exactly one year ago, I started Internship. Hard to believe that the terrifying days just kept coming, until one day they weren’t so terrifying anymore.

Today marks the beginning of my second year of Internship, as the new interns arrive. I am excited for them, mostly. I also have quite a few friends coming!

I’ll be on call today on the surgical service. I anticipate a busy busy 24 hours; because with great celebration comes great trauma, unfortunately.

One year from now, if all goes well, I’ll be starting my community service year – in a different province, different hospital.

I don’t really know what to expect for the year ahead. To be honest, I haven’t even had time to make goals or plans. But I trust it will be a year of great learning and experiencing.

What a time to practise medicine, indeed.

Sometimes I Don’t Want To Know

a4c50964f550a70443d53e51fe887a82I didn’t want to know that the man with the compound skull fracture had fallen into a sewer drain while being chased by the police because he was the man that had been scamming poor people out of their grant money for months.

I didn’t want to know that the man with the gangrenous arm had been bitten two weeks ago, by a girl he was trying to rape.

I understand the importance of a good clinical history. But right now, while I’m saving their lives, can I not simply know that he fell in a ditch? Or that he suffered a human bite?

I don’t want to know WHY these things happened to them. Not right now in any case. Tell me later, when they have pulled through the worst. Tell me then, if you must.

Is this wrong? Continue reading “Sometimes I Don’t Want To Know”

A Sadder Stabbed Heart

By Redmer Hoekstra

When I got a call one morning at 06h00 to notify me of a stabbed heart in Trauma, I was not filled with trepidation like the last time I received such a call. I thought, “I’ve done this before. I know what to do.”

But I did also get the call while I was busy crushing an arresting person’s ribs, so it took me a while to get to him.

When I arrived in Trauma, the stabbed patient had also arrested. The Trauma docs were already doing compressions. We put in a chest drain. We got him back for a few minutes. I called to theatre, but they were already scrubbed on another emergency. Our hospital only has one emergency theatre after-hours.

As the most junior in the room, I ran to blood bank to get emergency blood.

While I was away, our patient coded again. The doctors and nurses in Trauma resuscitated, again. One of my seniors briefly scrubbed out of theatre to perform an emergency thoracotomy. Continue reading “A Sadder Stabbed Heart”

Recovery, Divided or Together

The burns’ ward in our hospital is kind of special. It is the only ward that hosts men, women and children together. It is the only ward where everyone has exactly the same problem. It is one of our cleanest wards, and has a high staff-to-patient ratio.

But it’s not a pleasant place. The smells and the pain levels are hard for me to witness, so being a patient there must be so much worse.

I cannot help but notice, whenever I go in there, that the male patients are all sitting around one of the tables, telling stories and having a good time. In the adjoining room, the women all sit by their own beds, doing their own things.

It’s just so… jarring.

As an introvert, I totally understand the need for alone-time. But I NEVER see the women in this ward hanging out.

Support is so important in recovery.

I just wonder why they keep away from one another.