Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The Tertiary Sisters of St Francis operate 6 Hospitals in Cameroon.  In addition they have 40 Health Clinics in out lying areas around the hospitals.  These small clinics are staffed 24 hours a day by nurses and have 10-40 inpatient beds.  The nurses do deliveries and provide medical care for large areas where there are no other health care facilities.  Last Friday Terry and I traveled to Achain, the Clinic farthest from our hospital.  The road goes up and over several mountains and at times was no more than a path.  Most of the time the road is like a dry rocky river bed.  The road is impassible during the rainy season, more than 6 months of the year.  Sister was correct in predicting that the truck would need to go in for repairs when we got back.  We lost the exhaust pipe after bottoming out one too many times.

The staff at Achain was friendly and were happy to see us.  I think they were most happy to see the supply of medications and IV’s that we brought with us.  We consulted on a large variety patients.  One lady we saw had a large breast abscess.  We were able to drain here abscess sparing her a difficult trip back to our hospital.  The staff provided a wonderful lunch for us at the conclusion of the clinic.  The rain may prevent us from a return trip to Achain.

Monday, February 25, 2013

RSV Blues

The dry season brings an increase in the number of respiratory infections here.  The Peds Ward has been filled the last 2 months with many young children with Pneumonia and RSV Bronchiolitis.  We have nearly depleted the supply of Albuterol that Dr Ed Malphus brought us 2 years ago.  We use the Albuterol for breathing treatments for the children who are wheezing.  Fortunately most of the children respond well to antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments.

Today I was able to discharge home 4 children all recovering from their respiratory infections.

Junior doing well
Stella doing well

Monday, February 11, 2013

Food Poisoning

Last week we had 5 people arrive at the OPD complaining of vomiting and diarrhea after eating a meal of coco yams.  We later found out that a total of 15 people had eaten the coco yams and all 15 became ill.  2 young boys and 2 elderly women required admission.  3 year old Celestine was the sickest and he had multiple seizures over the next 12 hours.

Dr Eugene visited the Family Compound and was able to secure some of the cooked yams and sent one to the Hospital Laboratory for culture.  Today the Lab reported a heavy growth of E. Coli grew from the yams.  While Dr Eugene was at the Family Compound a neighbor showed up and boldly claimed he was so tough that no yam could make him sick.  Against Eugene’s advice the man snarfed a yam down.  We later heard that about 2 hours later the yam was oozing from both ends of his intestinal tract.

Everyone is doing well now.  We removed Celestine’s IV today and hopefully he will be able to go home tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


2 year old Tracy was brought to the hospital 5 days ago by her parents.  She had been hospitalized 3 days earlier in the Southwest with fever.  Her condition deteriorated with development of profound lethargy, prompting her parents to bring her to us.  Her medical record from the other hospital contained no information about her diagnosis or treatment.  Unfortunately this lack of information from other health care facilities is very common.  Tracy’s father could hardly contain his anger when I explained the lack of information sent from the other hospital.  I was concerned about meningitis so we did a spinal tap immediately which was negative.  Her Malaria test was positive and her Hemoglobin was very low.  She was aggressively treated for Cerebral Malaria and given a blood transfusion.  Her father was extremely excited the next morning telling me the moment her blood transfusion began she started getting better.

Over 48 hours Tracy woke up, initially crying, then looking about the room and then talking and walking.  She was well enough to be discharged today.  Her parents were delighted that Tracy’s recovery from Cerebral Malaria was the fastest that we have seen.