Today started like any other Saturday: I woke up at seven and puttered around making banana pancakes and eating them for breakfast. Then I wandered up to take an armful of books that the current ex-pats have either already read, or don’t want to read, to the library. The clinic is open only for emergencies and maternity on the weekend, so it is usually quiet. One nurse is on call for the entire weekend, and handles everything. Only occasionally do they call another nurse to help them. Today, there were 25-30 people standing around inside and outside the clinic, and the project director was in the crowd. He explained that the nurse on call was in the procedure room with a patient. They had had to latch the door to the procedure room, from the inside, to keep all these people from walking in and out of the room as they were working. The project director said I should go in, so I knocked and the folks inside let me in.
The patient was a man who was bleeding profusely from multiple lacerations of one thigh and leg. His friend was holding the injured leg in the air as the two medical folks were attending to the patient. There was a puddle of blood on the floor, and the nurse was struggling to suture the first laceration on the top and back of the thigh, about 6 inches long. The skin was torn loose off of the front of the thigh, leaving a triangular area of muscle exposed that was probably 6 inches long and three inches wide, with a large flap of skin hanging down. There were three other lacerations on the back of the thigh and behind the knee that were somewhat shorter, but deeper.
Later, I found out that he was a fisherman who had been swimming out to his boat. On the way, when he was in deep water, he met a hippopotamus, and that is what tore up his leg! I was told that it was very good that the water was so deep, because that meant that even the hippo could not get his feet on the bottom of the lake. The thirty or so people at the clinic were friends and family, waiting for him to be treated and wanting to take him home.
We dressed his wound with some new bandaging materials donated to us from Kenya Relief. I don’t know what we would have done without the long gauze strips and the Coban we used to wrap the leg, because the only alternative would have been 4 x 4 gauze with yards of tape. Partnering with Kenya Relief was great for us, and for our patient. You can look them up here to see the kind of work they do: https://kenyarelief.org/