EMERGENCY operates at full capacity. Every day, every bed is full. There are 96 beds at the Surgical Center in Goderich, and each must be given to the patients who are the sickest and most in need of EMERGENCY’s specialized care.
This leads to tough decisions.
Three children came to the hospital yesterday, each in need of urgent surgery. Fatmatta arrived first. Fatmatta is 10 years old, and fell into a ditch where a metal object pierced her abdomen. Ibrahim and Peter, 4 and 6 years old, arrived shortly thereafter with acute abdomens, both of which required urgent treatment.
Only two ICU beds were available. The difficult decisions began: Is there a patient ready to be discharged from the ICU, to open up a bed? Could one of the children be referred? Which child needs surgery most urgently?
In the end, all three children were successfully operated on before evening and space was opened in the ICU. The two younger children were found to have typhoid fever, which led to intestinal perforation. This morning, all three children are doing well and resting in beds adjacent to each other in the ICU. Each had a matching abdominal wound covered by sterile dressing. Each had received life-saving surgery.
–Lara Jacobson, EMERGENCY Pediatrician in Goderich, Sierra Leone