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  • Writer's picturekwankew

A Grueling Twenty-Four Hour Day

Fifth night in the ETU.

There was a schedule change which I had not been informed but I happened to see the schedule lying around. Communication is not the greatest.

During the day, Prince died as well as grandmother Juah. Now the Juah family has had 4 deaths

Rumor has it that the other villagers are now hostile against them and their safe return to their own village is in question. A third patient Carter died rather suddenly and her death was unexpected, I wonder whether she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Kamah also passed on. Four deaths in one day.

Aaron hangs on but it is difficult to watch him struggling for breath in his comatose state. Mercifully he no longer groans in pain but we will never know whether he still suffers. His belly is soft save for the distended bladder, he will need a catheterization.

Towah suffers from abdominal pain and groans all night long, getting up in her frail state to use the commode and hauling herself back to bed, more argument for us to get stronger analgesics.

Two thirds of the patients have been requiring IV fluids, making our stay in the ETU longer and longer. Last night I was in there for three and a half hours, the longest yet I had stayed in the ETU. I was the first one in and the last one out.

I went out with the ambulance crew the day after night shift, tired and sleepy. Outside the Tokaka clinic of Salala district, we interviewed a patient who was not feeling well but had not had any contact. He looked nervous hiding behind a shed while onlookers watched from across the street. Two other patients identified by the district health officer ran away before they were picked up. It was a very slow day for the ambulance crew.

We proceeded to the 90-bed Margibi ETU which is getting ready to open in a few days. It is built by Save the Children and supported by several organizations. Walking through the windowless white tarped tents, the temperature and humidity inside were unbearable even without PPE. There was no ventilation except via the central hallway. Even if the patients are not dehydrated, they would soon become pruned. Once outside I could feel the temperature dropping by several degrees.

The Margibi ETU

Exhausted at the end of a 24-hour day and having had no lunch, I look forward to a quiet evening before my day shift begins tomorrow.

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