Saturday, 1 December 2012

The other side of South Africa...

I have just completed what is known as "Ships Captain Medical".  It was a week of very intensive learning, finishing up with time hands-on at "Emergency" at one of the hospitals here in Cape Town.   Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the Hospital experience.  So, four of us arrived at 7pm Saturday night and Adrienne our wonderful instructor took us in.  What an experience!  I actually feel very sad as I write this morning - as the reality of what is happening here was presented.   I don't really know how many people came through last night - it was never-ending.  Probably about 30% or more were from stabbings from knives or blunt objects through alcolhol/drug fuelled violence - or just violence for violence sake!  One man had multiple lacerations, back, face, arm - some guys had wanted his cellphone and he didn't give it to them.  Another man had a large laceration to his forearm, which had cut the artery - his wife had hit him with a broken beer bottle.  Another guy a large laceration on his arm, he had been stabbed with a serrated bread knife by his nephew, who was a heroin addict.  The examples go on and on and on.  A lady, with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 25% of her body - her shack had caught fire.  We cleaned up wounds, sutured (though I opted out of this one), gave tetanus shots, injected local anasethics, took vital and diagnostics - not to mention the multiple diseases they had, HIV, Tuberculosis etc - oh my...

The sadness is - what is happening here in South Africa and what will happen...  all of this violence from poverty, lack of education and lack of morals.

Despite this dialogue, this is not something a tourist would usually see.  South Africa is a very beautiful place.

PS:  if anyone is interested the training is with www.pec.co.za

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