The Bravest Thing I Have Ever Done

Last Tuesday I was working in the Naivasha medical clinic. We were doing some routine cesarean sections when one of them ended up not being as routine as expected.  During our second cesarean, after delivering the baby, the uterus of the mother would not contract. This is known as uterine atony, and it can cause maternal hemorrhage leading to death. Our patient began bleeding excessively. We closed the lower uterine incision as this will often help the uterus contract, and I began the steps to control uterine atony including medicines, blood transfusion, intravenous fluids, and massage of the uterus. Nothing worked, so I looped some vertical compression sutures around the uterus to squeeze it down, and then quickly closed the abdominal wound so we could transfer her to the main Kijabe Hospital to possibly do a hysterectomy. This is when the bravery kicked in, because there is nothing scarier than driving with a crazily brave ambulance driver on a Kenyan highway. My heart raced as our driver went head to head in games of chicken with large trucks, buses, and semi-trailers. I could see from my seat in the back through a little window between the patient area and the front driver’s cab as we would approach oncoming traffic with our siren blaring and the horn honking. At the last moment the oncoming traffic would yield, and I would pray that the car following the yielding vehicle would give way as well. I would grab my patients hand and try and put on a good face as I awaited our untimely demise. Eventually we turned off the highway and down the hill toward the hospital, eventually pulling in front of the emergency room door. As I stumbled out, some of my physician friends who were awaiting us to help take care of the patient laughed when they saw my white with fear face. They knew that there is nothing braver than racing down the Kenyan highway in an ambulance! (And in case you wondered, the patient did great, and the bleeding stopped without her needing a hysterectomy!)

My hardcore hospital transportation to Naivasha

A post shared by Will Caire (@willcaire) on

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