Medical Mission 2018 | Part Four

April 15, 2018
Source: District of Asia

That's it, the pace is set, there's no way out! Arriving at 7AM on the spot, we sneak into the crowd waiting. And this evening, it will even be necessary to send back more than one hundred people not to push the doctors to the end... They still have two days to hold, in conditions which have nothing to do with their western city office, neat, clean and silent. Here, it's dust, promiscuity, dirt, and noise at will!

Day 4: Wednesday 11 April 2018

The military keeps us safe all around the building. Lieutenant-Colonel Otida, leader of the 27th Infantry Battalion, came to ensure that the mission functioned properly. He provides us with ten men. They are not overworked during the day, but as good Filipinos, they know how to wait patiently for hours... Meanwhile, it is reassuring to have them, knowing that the terrorist threat is not an empty word at home either. We also have a lot of veiled women who come for treatment; apparently, they ignore the religious aspect to take advantage of free care. As we say back home, money doesn't smell.

This year, surgical boxes are becoming high places of artistic expression! In the middle of so much misery, it is necessary to bring here or there some touches of softness or fantasy ! Especially since the arrival of surgeons has been announced, there is a lot of care to do.

A young child presents with bilateral earplasia, he has no ear canal. Nothing has been done for him, he is considered deaf and will learn sign language. It is always sad for doctors to see this, whereas in France he could have been cared for and had a normal social life.

Another comes to show his shoulder; he had a serious motorcycle accident eight months ago, and can no longer move his arm without help. There is no fracture, it seems, but significant muscle atrophy. Dr de Geofroy junior[See picture above of Baby boss at work] would ask for an MRI to see the extent of the damage, but it might cost too much.  May be an attack of the brachial plexus....

Today, Dr. Ledoux has several cases of cancer, including two adults who suffer: a 40-year-old person has half his face taken by the tumour; there is still time to chemo him. For that, the doctor asks for a scanner to make an assessment of extension, it is possible since it would come back to 180€.

The other patient has a clearly malignant tumour, externalized to the external auditory canal, with early facial paralysis, indicating invasion of the rock bone. His case is more serious, we must do an MRI urgently to see if there are metastases and be able to carry a prognosis. The doctor also sees a poor child impressive to see: he has a meningocele (meningeal protrusion deforming the face).

In France, the slightest benign cyst is removed, and it is unthinkable not to treat such tumours as soon as possible. But here no money, no concern for appearances; only poverty and acceptance of one's fate... It's very frustrating to feel so helpless to care for these people.

Ideally, we should have a hospital structure at our disposal during the week of the mission and the following month, to be able to operate and treat the most urgent cases quickly.

Another less serious pathology, but very widespread: goitres which deform the neck. For example, in three days, Dr. Ledoux saw 57 of his 130 patients, which is absolutely enormous. It's benign most of the time, not very painful, so we live with it, without asking too many questions.

Otherwise, Alexandra still encounters some difficult cases, here is one: he is a young man of 30 years almost blind: at 8 years old, an accident completely laminated his right eye; and the left is very myopic (-9). So he didn't go to school and can't read or write. To test his eyesight, it is therefore necessary to find something other than letters, Alexandra tries him glasses with which he identifies drawings a few meters away. It's almost a resurrection for him!

Despite the fatigue, the volunteers are in a good mood and the dinners are lively. Add a few bottles of Red Horse Beer, and the atmosphere is assured! In addition, tonight we have Jean-Pierre Dickès on the phone, he is happy to follow his mission live, and grateful for the investment of new doctors.

Thank you all!