by Nat Crewe; DRG Team Leader
Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh
True to DRG form, today turned out to be a very diverse, dynamic and busy day.
Simon and Mel headed to Burmapara camp to continue the temporary clinic work. We were advised in the morning about a very sick patient further south in Leda camp -so Shane and Alex were sent there to investigate, whilst Kate and Amy made their way to Kutapalong to do roving house-to-house calls.
Alex and Shane found their patient after an extensive search and he proved to be quite unwell. The patient had been beaten by the Myanmar army, leaving him with a horrendous open sore on his coccyx region. That was over a month ago. The sore was now infected and the poor many was in agony. He could only really respond to painful stimuli, and was otherwise in and out of consciousness. He was transported to the Red Cross/Red Crescent shared clinic at Kutapalong where he will hopefully be well looked after.
Once in Burmapara, Simon and Mel found that the infrastructure had been improved overnight. They arrived to find that the clinic now had a table and chairs, as well as mats for the waiting patients! Throughout the day the line of waiting patients never dropped below 20 or 30 people. As usual, it was oppressively hot, so the team had the great idea of giving those people lining up some electrolytes to keep them going. This alone was enough to perk up quite a few patients. Nevertheless, by the end of the day out team had seen a whopping 51 plus patients!
There were a number of paediatric presentations today- of note, 10 month-old twins who were severely malnourished, very underweight and listless They were treated with formula and the family given some to feed them in their tent during the day while transport to a medical facility was arranged for the evening with Alex and Shane. Simon also home-visited a newborn that was born at 1300 today. The baby wasn’t feeding well and was in a smoke-filled hut. Simon got the baby feeding and educated mum about not cooking in the hut with the child. By the time he gave the baby back to mum, she was looking much, much better.
Kate and Amy went from house to house in Kutapalong camp, finding patients all along the way. Amy checked on a newborn that was just 7 hours old and, thankfully, all was well.
Not so great was an elderly gentleman who had suffered a gunshot wound to the leg that had healed over, with the bullet still in his thigh. He was unable to walk, was in great pain, and was beginning to lose feeling below his left knee. Kate and Amy fashioned a stretcher from bamboo and material, and carried him over a kilometer to the road where he could be picked up by an ambulance (arranged by BPM) and taken to Cox’s Bazar.
Meanwhile, I was receiving a fast education in the intricacies of life in Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees. Together with our esteemed Rotary friend, Rafiqul Chowdhury, we went about arranging transportation for Amy and Kate’s gunshot patient. As it was deemed that his wound was outside of the capabilities of the camp medical clinic, arrangements were made for him to be admitted to a private hospital in Cox’s Bazar.
As we found out, Rohingya people are not admitted into the public hospital system in Bangladesh, therefore we arranged a private ambulance to be dispatched fromCox’s Bazar, staffed by Doctor B. Alamgir, a local surgeon, and also a Rotary member.
Thankfully, the DRG was able to cover the ambulance costs for this man thanks to the incredible donations from our supporters. I met the patient on his arrival at the hospital, and saw him settled and ready for treatment. To know that we were able to make such positive impacts on so many patients made this a very successful day.
To know that we probably saved this one gentlemen’s life was a priceless feeling!