Mark Dornan helps to try to save a baby's life in a Kenyan hospital. Back at home, he is shocked by the contrasting affluence of British hospitals
Out patients was bustling. A mother brought in her 3 day old baby; it had been vomiting. The three day walk had exhausted her. The baby was dehydrated and had an imperforate anus.
None of the three doctors in the missionary hospital were surgeons. The poor roads made a transfer unfeasible. One doctor had some surgical experience, and so, armed with the hospital copy of Surgery - the low priced edition, the operation was planned. Meanwhile, another doctor worked out paediatric doses with the “anaesthetist” - a local nurse who had a few weeks' training in anaesthetics.
After the child was rehydrated the operation started. The anatomy was distorted, but eventually the descending colon was found among the mass of grossly inflated bowel. The relieved doctor started to perform a colostomy. My job was to assist and keep the bowel warm with swabs bathed in warm water. Half an hour