Stories from the Operating Room – Liberia 2019

When our logistics coordinator asked for volunteers to write a blog post, my hand shot up. Not surprising to those of you who know me – I’ve always got a lot to say. I want to start this blog by saying that today was the first day I actually saw a couple of puppies walking around the hospital! I suppressed the urge to pet them, or even take one home in my carry-on bag.

Reflecting on my busy day in the OR, many amazing thoughts and memories put a smile on my face. Watching CSI’s two newest OR nurses spread their wings and fly solo with minimal assistance astounded me. I look at Emily Butcher and Monica Hooley and marvel at their enthusiasm and motivation. I know they will be hooked on CSI  for life, just like I knew I was on my very first trip. I am amazed at how universal OR nursing can be. The Liberian nurses are phenomenal at helping with our room turnovers – or should I say – table turnovers, as there are two tables in each of our ORs.

I want to tell you about Jackson. The details of his story are not completely clear to me or his pediatric urology surgeon, Dr. Janelle Fox. What we do know is that 16-year-old Jackson suffered a serious pelvic injury in an accident. As a result, he has lived with a suprapubic catheter for almost an entire year. Jackson has been living away from his family, staying with family friends who have more medical knowledge. Yesterday he underwent a life-changing surgery that will allow him to urinate in a way most men take for granted.

What is truly incredible about Jackson’s situation is his bravery and determination. As he came into surgery I noticed the OR staff remove his shoes and take them from the room. Normally we would hand them to waiting family members, but Jackson had no family accompanying him. The shoes would wait for him outside the door. I was really touched. Here was a young, stoic man who was going into surgery without any loved one near to offer him encouragement or support, yet he made sure he was properly prepared for surgery and signed his own surgical consent form. How completely remarkable and mature.  I am proud to have been able to serve Jackson, and all of our incredible patients here in Liberia.

~ Jessica Driscoll, RN, surgery

View lots more photos here!