Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Article of Mixed Emotions

There are times in my life when I think I lead a pretty sweet easy life.

And such a time is like when I read this article, Hip to the Odds, that details, in-depth, how this 51-yr old man, Wilson Mhlongo, undergoes a hip replacement operation fully awake, as there is no anaesthetist at Mseleni District Hospital.

There are times when I read about impressive people, like the doctor doing the operation, Dr Victor Fredlund. He came out to Mseleni, Kwa-Zulu Natal in 1981 & has stuck around. He now conducts two of these operations himself every Wednesday. They are meant to take place in Ladysmith, but the waiting list is months too long and so Fredlund and sought & found practical solutions.

Mseleni is a perfect example of a hospital doing the best with limited
resources. But its excellence is cemented by years of Fredlund's unique
determination and his relentless recruitment of foreign doctors, for it seems
few South Africans will stay in the remote hospital. [There is a good write up
of the HIV and AIDS situation in the area also in this article].

And then I read about some bureaucratic government decision and I sigh:

According to the health department's new human resource policy, foreign
doctors will only be able to work in South Africa for a maximum of three years -
which effectively shuts out the Fredlunds with their missionary zeal.


Revolving Credit said...

When you said there is no anaesthetist I thought they were doing it without anaesthetic??like WTF??

I the read the article and realised they did in fact use a spinal anaesthetic.

But fcuk, imagine lying there and listening to someone literally sawing your leg off.

Fuck, thats crazy.

Champagne Heathen said...

Rev, I also thought that with my 1st reading (that it read anaesthetic) and then I felt unbelievably lucky in my life. I bitch like hell just when I have a sore throat.

It's insane hey! You'd have to book me into heavy therapy for a good couple of years if I ever had to be awake during such a procedure & never again would I be able to be near a building site.

TwoFlower said...

aaarrgghhhh - our government just annoys me!!! not only do they chase away our domestic doctors, now they seem to be chasing away the foreign ones to. idiots - all of them!

Champagne Heathen said...

They're in a difficult bind. With 25% unemployment (last I checked?) one immediately thinks that an answer would be to red tape foreign employment. But life's not that simple, especially here, and I hope that they are taking such cases as this one into their policy & legislation consideration!

Anonymous said...

Idiots. We're losing so many doctors as it is. DON'T THEY GET IT?????

Champagne Heathen said...

Perhaps it's too complex a complication & solving it would cut into their 3-hour lunch break, or require them to skip some random forum about nothing all in the name of HIV. There are too many of those!