Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ward Rounds

The little guy with the case of severe malaria was sitting up in bed this morning, awake and alert to his surroundings. It looks like he’s made it. It's pretty amazing. There were times on Monday when we thought we were watching him take his last breath. 

The ward rounds continue to bring us interesting and challenging cases. We diagnosed a teenager who had been coughing up blood for a few months with pulmonary tuberculosis. An adult patient with bad headache, body aches, and fever was diagnosed with a serious case of malaria, but was also newly diagnosed with AIDS. We’ve had two patients this week with advanced esophageal cancer, one of which has a stent that had been placed in her esophagus and is on liquid morphine for palliative care. In Africa, unlike the US where you are never more than a stone’s throw away from a narcotic pain pill, it is very difficult to come by morphine and its derivatives. I was quite happy to see that this woman with terminal cancer had appropriately been prescribed a medicine that would help ease the pain of a very debilitating disease. The medical team had a good discussion on end-of-life care at her bedside, covering some of the many issues that are involved in trying to facilitate a dignified death.  She has a difficult road ahead. 


sarah said...

I like the paintings on the walls in the hospital. Are the ladybugs brown in Africa?

sarah said...

And do they live under water?

Jefe said...

astute, dr. marine ecologist.