Sunday, April 12, 2015

The theatre (operating room) at Tamale Teaching Hospital

On our final day at the Tamale Teaching Hospital Samaya and Kyla spent the day in the Theatre where orthopedic surgeries were being performed. There was a bit of a delay at the start of the day as there was no running water to sterilize instruments. By ten a.m. the first procedure was underway which was an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of the right radius. We counted 20 staff members in the operating room at one point, which we found to be quite overwhelming. We were wondering how the patient felt with so many individuals in the room watching the procedure. We also found it very interesting that nurses are able to place the patient under general anesthesia as this is an anesthesiologist's role in Canada (anesthesiologist's in Canada are medical doctors in Canada that then specialize in anesthesiology). The nurses and surgeons were very welcoming to us, and ensured that we had a front row seat. They were also involving us in discussions with medical students and nursing students, and asking us questions. It was apparent that they are used to teaching students frequently as they were eager to share their knowledge with us. During the procedure, one of the surgeons mentioned that he knew an orthopedic surgeon that happens to live in Vernon! What a small world. It's nice to know that knowledge is being shared across continents, and that we have multiple connections to Ghana!  We quickly learned that although it's nice to have a front row seat, we should've brought our goggles as bone fragments were flying at us! We then explained to the head nurse in the theatre that in Canada we have a sterile border around the patient that only the surgeon and the scrub nurse are to remain in. They found that very interesting as it is not something that they practice. Although the patient remains sterile, there were many individuals that were in close proximity to the patient to observe. The head nurse stated that he felt that our practice of having a sterile border would be beneficial to implement in their operating room. Overall, it was an interesting experience that we were thankful to be a part of.

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