Three weeks left to the end of my term here in Timor. What I miss most about Singapore hospitals is the glorious abundance of new, inventorized, sterile plastic-wrapped equipment.
Our dinky clinic here is OK for the regular 'flus and diarrhoeas, but the squeeze comes with the small surgeries: abscesses to be poked, cuts to be stitched, wounds to be repaired.
[Do NOT poke me!]
Greatly outgunned by the patients, I returned from the lightning trip to Singapore in Jan with a substantial armoury of dressings, syringes, IV sets... (thanks CM!)
Initially, the only anaesthetic available to me for some procedures was 'brutacaine' - 3 or 4 handy assistants holding down the shrieking patient while I sliced away. Not much more refined than a consultation with our local witch doctor. I've since got my hands on a stash of Ketamine (thanks S!) and Lignocaine (thanks G!), which have greatly decreased the pain and drama of our surgeries.
Dr. Daniel Murphy, a personal hero who's been serving in Timor for 10 years now, responding to an interviewer's question on high-end medical equipment: "You don't need all that stuff. Two hands and a heart, that's all you need. A stethoscope helps, though."
Agreed. But the syringes help too!