Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trauma and Critical Care at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa


Despite stark disparities and severe resource constraints, the people I worked with every day were an incredible source of inspiration. The faculty, trainees and students were an incredibly diverse group of people of every race, color and religion. They were collegial, thoughtful and compassionate to each other and to me.

In the picture below is Nadine (right), one of the graduating surgical residents at Wits. I spent quite a bit of time with her during my trip and found out that she is a truly remarkable woman. She was technically excellent in the operating room. She also blew the socks of a lot of the nursing staff when she switched between speaking with me in English, to talking to some of the staff in Afrikaans and the patients in Zulu. It also turns out she is a mother of two young children. It was quite endearing when she asked to come in late one morning so that she could sing “Happy Birthday” to her older child at the school party. I was even more impressed when her faculty supported her and allowed her to come in late!

Reuven, one of the faculty surgeons at Joberg Gen, is pictured below. I had the pleasure of working with him quite closely and he was absolutely amazing in the depth of his commitment and compassion to his patients. His passion and intensity were just extraordinary. Reuven’s main interest is in pediatric trauma and he is focused on improving the care that injured children receive in Joberg. He also directs one of the private ambulance companies in Joberg and supervises dozens of volunteer first-responders who provide on-scene care in the community. Joberg, a historic gold mining town, has hit gold in having Reuven to take care of its injured public. Hopefully, the push and pull of brain drain doesn’t taken him away from where he is needed most – at home in Joberg!

Many thanks to Nadine and Reuven as well as Profs. Goosen and Boffard, Ismael Cassimjee, Steve Moeng, Frank Plani, Denis Allard among the many other residents, medical officers, students and nurses who made my trip as successful as I had hoped for and then some!

Sudha Jayaraman MD MSc
Fellow, Trauma Burns and Surgical Critical Care
Brigham and Women's Hospital

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