Bangladesh 2011 Rangpur Screening Day and First Day of Surgery

On Saturday or day one, the team set off for the hospital at 7 am to set up for screening, unpack supplies and get the operating rooms ready. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a large contingent of hospital personnel and each of us were given a bouquet of flowers, that’s 23 bouquets! This also happened on Friday evening for the group that toured the hospital. Needless to say, the dining room of the RDRS Guest House, where we’re staying, is covered with vases of flowers!

Bangladeshi families are extensive and many family members traveled with their children, having heard about CSI over the radio and through a large hospital marketing campaign. The screening area (or screaming area, as it really should be called) was packed and by the end of the day we had screened over 90 patients. One little fellow showed his set of lungs right at the beginning of the screening process after all we did was put a sticky label on his shirt! More little ones got into the act when having their photo taken and by the time they were on to vitals the chorus was in full session. One of the most fascinating things was to finding out how families got to the hospital. Many had taken the bus from as far away as 120 KM, that’s about 70 miles and one family travelled 30 miles by rickshaw.

Since the hospital and our guest house are only a half mile from each other, some of the team decided to walk back to the guest house after screening was finished. The road is lined with small food stands, some with sections of meat hanging in the open air, brick workers making mortor for roads by chopping large bricks into smaller pieces, chickens, cows, goats, dogs, people welding iron for gates and glazing pottery. The most unique site was that of a man grinding mustard seeds to obtain the oil. He was sitting on an ox that was attached to a large grinder in the middle of his stand. On the road were trucks, rickshaws, three wheeled cabs, bicycles, and pedestrians. The sounds of horns, the smell of open cooking fires, and the sight of curious children staring at this large group of foreigners dressed in scrubs comple this rather exotic picture!

Today, Sunday, Kofi, Anthony, and Krista successfully completed our first 16 operations. We also screened several more patients who had heard through word of mouth that we’re in town and we’ve added three of them to the surgery schedule. One of them is a young woman with an extensive facial cleft. One of the best moments of the day came when a dad held the mirror for his 11 year old pig-tailed daughter to see her new face for the first time. He was absolutely beaming with happiness and a huge smile and said he never thought this would ever happen!

The hospital ward is filled this evening with 16 children, their new smiles and their moms. It’s a happy place. Heather and Michelle, our two night nurses, have taken over for the evening watch of these beautiful little kids.

We’re looking forward to day two of surgery and posting some photos too.