Update from Bolivia: Northwestern Trauma and Surgical Initiative Expands to Potosi
By Megan McCannEmergency Medicine and Trauma April 25, 2013
3 weeks ago, Dr. Hawthorne received a call at his new clinic in the city of Potosi. The call was from the head physician at the district hospital in Vitichi, a rural municipality about 2.5 hours from the city. The physician was calling to inform Dr. Hawthorne about a 55-year-old man who was being brought by ambulance from Vitichi to Potosi for further care. According to this doctor, the patient had fallen out of a tree while harvesting peaches, landed on his feet, and has since been unable to move his leg due to a broken bone.
As the afternoon passed, the patient arrived to Dr. Hawthorne’s outpatient clinic. Unfortunately, Dr. Hawthorne found the situation to be much graver than previously expected: upon initial evaluation, it was clear that the patient had in fact transected his spinal cord from a vertebral fracture caused by the fall, resulting in paralysis of his lower extremities. As many of you know, these injuries also affect the nerves going to the bladder, and the patient confirmed that he had not urinated since the accident…5 days prior. With low blood pressure and a bladder the size of a basketball, Dr. Hawthorne informed the ambulance driver that the patient needed to be transferred to the city’s general hospital after initial stabilization in the clinic. However, when Dr. Hawthorne had finished caring for the patient’s most pressing needs, the ambulance driver had already left the city for Vitichi and was not responding to any phone calls. Read the full entry.*
For full updates, visit Steven’s blog.*