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Emotional Week

This week I was assigned to the emergency room. The kids here are the sickest this hospital sees. Although, it is the typical illnesses I've seen at the other wards, in the ER they are unstable and need a lot of supportive care. I was really excited for this ward since the pace of ER practice is more my style... but I was not prepared for this.

Children are always crying and screaming and some are so weak they can only whimper. The most shocking thing is how calm parents are. They quietly obey doctors or simply state they do not have the money for their child's medications. It honestly almost seemed like they did not care, this made things difficult for me. Dr. BM said to me that it is the cultural differences of how children are perceived in Ghana vs. the US. This made some sense since Ghana has over twice as many children per woman at 4.12. I was disheartened at how helpless I felt and to see the kid's parents, the ones who have the capacity to help and comfort their children, just sit there and do nothing.

Another thing that was hard on me was the lack of options and resources for these children. Many families can barely afford their child's medications let alone travel out of the country for a surgery that no one in Ghana can perform, but that is the only option. Or another child so anemic the staff has to go off-site to another hospital to bring back a single bag of blood. Several times I had to reorient myself to my position here, I cannot buy medications for these children, I cannot offer to buy a ticket to another country, I simply cannot provide charity here.

I knew I would find it hard to see so many sick children, yet here I am getting attached to these kids. I know I will continue to follow-up with a few in my last week in Accra.