Making History Can Be Painful

Each week, Redeemer Church is going to post 2 blog posts each week from a dear family who has been a part of the Redeemer Church family here in Bellingham for years moved to Africa to do medical education for 9 months. The Sund Family, Greg, Stephanie, Ella, Biniyam, and Mekdes have lived in Burundi for the last 8 months and we wanted you to be up-to-date on all that they are doing and all that is happening in Africa.

Below is the Sund's blog post in September from Africa called "Making History Can Be Painful". You can find more blogs from there personal blog here > Beyond Our Backdoor 


The anesthesia students have been very excited this week.  That is because today, we scheduled the very first surgery under general endotracheal anesthesia at Kibuye hospital.  There has been an anesthesia machine in the OR since I arrived, but it had not been set up or used until today.  This week, Jason and I worked on getting it ready to go, connecting an oxygen tank to one port, an air compressor to another and filling it with expired halothane and expired CO2 absorbent.  So what could go wrong?

After discussing the plan with the students, drawing up the medications and preparing the intubation equipment, I handed my ipad to one of the students and asked him if he would take a couple pictures of the intubation to memorialize this historic event.  So, we injected the induction drugs, and this patient turned out to be one of the most difficult intubations I have ever encountered.  The reason for the surgery was to remove a tumor on his neck.  This tumor was apparently distorting his airway, making visualization of his vocal cords almost impossible.  So, what should have been a 15 second induction of anesthesia turned into a 45 minute scene of chaos and mayhem.  At one point I could not ventilate the patient and so his oxygen level dropped to undectable  levels.  The medical student with my ipad continued to take pictures this whole time, 133 photos to be exact.  And I remember thinking at one point that I REALLY wished I had not asked someone to take photos of this historic event.

Alas, by the grace of God, the endotracheal tube finally found its home, the man had his surgery, woke up and appears to be doing fine, and hopefully our next general anesthetic will go a little smoother than this one.  

A few of the less incriminating photos ..... (Photos below are a slide show, click through them)