Friday, September 28, 2012

Mass Casualty

Kijabe Hospital does a lot with relatively limited resources.  The bed capacity is 281 and the hospital operates with a bed-occupancy rate of 98%.  While most hospital administrators in the USA would love to have this occupancy, it makes for difficulties when many patients show up at once in need of care.  There is a doctors’ strike currently in the public sector here in Kenya that has caused the patients to turn to non-governmental hospitals to get care.  This has further stretched the ability of hospitals like Kijabe which shoulder the added healthcare load.  Add onto that a bus crash and you have the makings of a potential disaster.  A few days ago, over 40 patients arrived at once to the emergency room at Kijabe Hospital after a road traffic accident.  This would stretch even the largest of facilities in the well-resourced world, so imagine the strain of a limited resource mission hospital in rural Kenya already stretched to capacity when such a patient load alights at once.  Our small, 6-bed emergency room teems with patients and caregivers.  The scene is nothing less than controlled chaos.  Nurses, staff, and physicians from throughout the hospital, including many not on duty but coming in from home, pitch in to care for the wounded.  This “all hands on deck” response is a picture of teamwork and commitment that amidst the tragedy is wonderful to see.  

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