Well today, July 21, 2014, was by far one of my favorites! My parts, Sara, and I spent the morning in the capital searching for spare parts for the broken equipment at the hospital. Overall, we bought velcro (to secure temperature probes onto babies in the NICU), power cords, surge protectors, batteries, etc.. then we caught a two hour long bus ride back to Butare, ate a nice lunch at Hotel Ibus, and headed back to the hospital.
We started by finishing up inventory in the ICU and went back to work on a broken CPAP(continuous positive air pressure machine for patients who have trouble breathing) and an incubator. After trouble-shooting for an hour, we determined the problem for the incubator was the motor. But to confirm, we emailed the manufacturer for any other suggestions. As we waited for them to respond, we went to the surgery ward and worked on its inventory.
To enter, we had to have the whole get up, scrubs, face mask, hair net, and rain boots. We found that in two of the operating rooms, many of the wall sockets didn't even receive any power and a couple of the lamps crucial for surgery were out. After making a list of all the functional/dysfunctional equipment, we started talking to one of the orthopedic surgeon volunteers about his next surgery. Apparently, a man who had broken his arm and had it repaired, but the screws and plate used to help the bone realign were too weak and ended up making his injury even worse.
My curiosity got the best of me, so I asked the doctor if I could scrub in during his surgery and he agreed! So there I was front row, watching him cut into the side of this man's arm and watch him pull out nails, unscrew screws, tear out the scar tissue, chip away at the calcification surrounding the bone, and put it all back together.
Before going home for dinner, we decided to do a quick pit stop in the NICU (because we obviously live there), we continued to work on the incubator and a phototherapy lamp that one of the nurses needed for a newborn baby that had just came in. We fortunately found the problem the phototherapy lamp fairly fast, the power supply was being short circuited from the circuit board! The nurse was very, very grateful for it, and it was put to immediate use. :)