Final Notes from Ghana

My last 2 days in Ghana turned out to be very busy.  I took a little girl with severe malnutrition and anemia to the hospital to be admitted.  The first day, I spent 7 hours at the hospital getting her settled in (much like going to the hospital here in the US).  However, the first 2 hours were spent waiting to be seen by a doctor, who was in a meeting.  Then we spent at least an hour discussing her history of which very little is known since she is an orphan.  A mini physical was performed, and then we were sent off to the lab for blood work and down the street to another hospital for an x-ray.  Back we came with the x-ray film, just in time to pick up her results from the lab and return to the hospital ward.  The girl needed a blood transfusion to treat her severe anemia.  Unfortunately, it was identified that she has a rare blood type that is even rarer in Ghana than the general population.  However, that wasn’t dealt with until the next day.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was sent to the lab requesting 1 unit of whole blood.  Not surprisingly, they didn’t have that blood type (which I was already told the night before). After some frustration on my side due to our different definitions of certain words and the fact that they didn’t do anything in the past 12+ hours to try to get the blood, I was given a slip of paper and a sample of the girl’s blood and sent to another hospital to see if they had the right blood.  The blood bank said they wouldn’t call ahead, because they wouldn’t get a straight answer anyway.  Thankfully, the first hospital I went to had 1 unit of blood that matched the little girl.  After only a 30-45 minute wait, it was ready for me to take with me.  They asked if I had a cold box to put it in which I didn’t since no one mentioned it before.  I explained that I would take the blood directly to the hospital and it would be given right away.  Thankfully, they didn’t make me go out and buy a cooler before giving me the blood.  When I returned with the blood to the hospital, it wouldn’t run because the child’s IV had clotted off.  After starting a new IV, the little girl was finally on the road to recovery.



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