Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lucilia sp, subfamily Calliphorinae II

I was asked what happened to the old man with the maggot-infested wounds?  In truth, I do not know. I was 2 weeks into my 4 week tour when he was brought in (dumped at the door) and I left while he was still in good care.

I know he had a surgical consult with a view to 'over-sewing' the wound but his injury was considered too advanced for this option. We spent the next two weeks packing the sinusues  with gauze and mostening them with a light Milton solution and administering antibiotics and IV fluids.

He was a very old man, in a very poor state of well-being, with no family to care for him. It is likely he died during his hospitalisation.

In South-east Asia, particularly Vietnan, Laos and Cambodia, the rural indigenous population avoid hospitals. It takes something beyond their coping means to bring someone into a hospital - and then the whole family moves in and camps around the patients bedside. They cook their own food on their little stoves, sleep on mats, do their own washing and even bring in their animals - we had chickens and goats in the courtyard, even a pig on one occassion that was left as payment for the care given. When the VC rocketed Vung Tau many civilians were severely injured. I am told that the previosuly almost empty French Hospital  (I was not there at that time) became over-crowded like a train station in peak hours immediately after the attack as families brought in their injured and moved in with the injured family member if they were admitted.

ps - It was called the French Hospital as it had been constructed by the French during their colonisation of Vietnam. It was a series of wood structures, rectangular large open wards with wide covered verandahs on both sides, with four buildings forming a quadrangle that opened on to a garden courtyard. It was supported by a further two buildings - one an operating suite and the other combined as an administration, stores area, laundry and kitchen.

We lived in private quarters in the town which were arranged in advance for us. They were very nice and we were treated like honoured guests.


Sharon said...

I imagine it made caring for the patients a little difficult, with so many people there and germs were a major problem. Am I wrong? Did the whole family being there, help the patient heal better?

John Gray said...

well done with the questionaire!

JohnD said...

Sharon, it was all part of the lifestyle that europeans needed to accept and adjust to in S.E Asia. Did it help? Well, if you stopped it the patients fretted and became uncoopertive (which effected their care and recovery) and, if they could, they would walk-out, wounds, dressings, drains and all!