A 28-member team of health care professionals from Duke University Medical Center is carrying nine tons of surplus medical equipment and donated supplies to the 1500-bed New Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Mulago Hospital staff will be trained to use and maintain the new equipment then surgeons from both countries will join in conducting a number of brain and spinal surgeries.

The project is administered by Duke’s Global Health Institute.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Now For the Not-So-Good News

Michelle Gailiun updates the case of Subra:
I thought I'd first show you little Subra as Dr. Ali Zomorodi adjusted the Mayfield frame around her head, steadying the field where the incisions in her skull and neck would be made.
Subra is 7 years old and has already lost one eye to retinoblastoma - or so everyone believes. She's been to several hospitals before landing here, and unfortunately, no one really knows her diagnosis for sure.
Doctors believed she had a life-threatening aneurysm, and she has been near the top of their to-do list since day one. She and her dad have come from a village far away and have waited six weeks for this day. Surgery began around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon.
Surgeons were surprised and saddened to learn that Subra did not have an aneurysm after all - which might have been "cured" with a well-placed clip. Instead, she has a brain tumor. What kind - they're not sure, but a brain tumor of any type is never good. Doctors took a piece of it to biopsy.
But a nurse told me that a biopsy at the local facility could take a month or more, and the family has no money to go to a private lab that might be able to determine the type of tumor in a matter of days. Radiation is a possible treatment, but they can't begin it without a definitive biopsy report; I am reminded that her pathology report on her earlier eye problem was lost.
Her dad, Wathum tends her with the most tender touch, but she still cries a lot, perhaps missing her mother, perhaps not feeling well, and maybe a little scared, too. Many of us feel quite distraught. I miss her dear, bright smile.