Operating in the DRC

Operating in the DRC

On my recent and third trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Projet Myome - the Fibroid Project - I accomplished more than I had imagined.  First, I was able to train a Congolese doctor to do a myomectomy, as we say in surgery, from skin to skin.  Operating from early morning until well past sunset, I had the opportunity to do many cases with this very talented young doctor.

Second, I recognized some areas of improvement or things that we take for granted in the U.S. and have been able to initiate plans to make changes.  While it is fantastic that the Marie Biamba Mutombo Hospital is able to give blood transfusions, what would be even better is to give the patients back their own blood that they lose at the time of surgery.  Since my return less than a month ago, I have been able to procure the donation of two machines that reprocess the patient's blood in the operating room and allow the patient to get back their own blood.  In addition to the donation of the machine, the company will train someone to teach the Congolese staff.

Another success was my teaching of a postpartum hemorrhage protocol.  In the US, if a woman's uterus does not respond to medication to contract after delivery, we have a one time use, $500 silicone balloon that we use to create a tamponade and stop the bleeding.  I was able to teach all of the midwives at a busy women's hospital that does 50 deliveries per day how to create a similar tamponade with a Foley catheter, a condom and some string.  My summer intern had made kits of all of the supplies to be used each time they face a post part hemorrhage due to uterine atony.

I am quite hopeful that with all of the education I was able to do that my impact will remain and lives will be saved long after my departure.