Friday, 31 March 2017

COTW: Corn in the lungs

By Jason
Last week a 5 year old boy named Floribert came in breathing more than 60 times a minute having had inhaled a kernel of corn.  A quick x-ray confirmed right sided atelectasis due to the right bronchus being blocked.  The only way to get something like this out is with a piece of equipment called a bronchoscope.  The bronchoscope - a thin pipe - is placed in the trachea (windpipe) and long, thin graspers are placed down the long pipe to grab whatever has been inhaled.  
I have been working on trying to get a bronchoscope for Kibuye for more than a year.  Thanks to a contact that a colleague has in a company that makes these scopes and some generous donors, I was able to purchase one in November.  I had just brought the bronchoscope back with me in my suitcase a few weeks ago when I was in the US for a quick trip and the scope was not even completely unpacked. However, Floribert had no other option - there is only one other bronchoscope in the country and that would necessitate a trip to the capital 3 hours away.  So while Floribert was being prepped for the OR, I went home and brought up, in a suitcase, all the various pieces of the scope and put it together.  We managed to connect it to a screen so that the medical students and anesthetists could see and understand what was going on - they had never seen this done.  We were able to get the corn kernel out of his bronchus and save his life.  This was the first rigid bronch that I think has ever been done in the history of Kibuye and it is the first life saved with this bronchoscope.  I’m sure there will be many more to come. 

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