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.