Sunday, January 27, 2013

A bloody mess

I was on my way to a meeting at Jubilee School when Julie suggested I pop into the clinic. "Rodolphe got himself cut open. There's a lot of blood."
No joke!
Rodolphe is a former teacher at our school and he'd apparently been messing around with someone's wife when the husband came home and got angry. At some point during the altercation, the woman smashed a rum bottle over Rodolphe's head, slicing him open deeply on the forehead, nose, ear, and just above the eye lid.
He'd made his way to Raboteau, the hospital that the Cubans run but was turned away. His friend, another teacher, took a moto to get Rodolphe and found him on the street in a pool of blood. They came to our clinic and our staff got an IV into him and tried to control the bleeding. They'd soaked through all our gauze, 2 t-shirts and a pillow. Despite that, there was still a puddle of blood under and around our patient.
Grace arrived on site about 45 minutes later and started slapping in stitches to close off the deepest wounds. When I got there, another 30 minutes later, the vital work had been done - most of the major bleeding had abated. There were still plenty of smaller wounds open though, so I settled in the pool of blood opposite Grace and started suturing too. Meanwhile, Oscar assisted us, mopping up blood and cutting threads, and Rusty held the light and kept asking Rodolphe silly questions, anything to keep him awake.
At 4:30pm, we closed clinic. The whole process, including a major cleaning of our clinic floor, had taken over 3 hours.
We joke that Grace is the trauma surgeon, there to save lives, and I'm the plastic surgeon, working with the miniscule needles and thread to make the scars look good...which is rather important because Rodolphe might be the most vain patient I've ever treated! Throughout the entire endeavour, the question he kept repeating was, "How do I look? Am I ugly?"
Don't believe me? Here he is the next morning, when we took his bandages off, checking out his reflection in a mirror.

I can be a plastic surgeon when necessary, but my best advice to you, Rodolphe, would be to avoid married women and rum bottles! Your face might be a little prettier that way.

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