Uganda Love This

Amy Scheel

Nightmare in Gulu

Picture this: A 4 year old girl being carried into the clinic seizing in her mothers arms. She’s had a stroke and is barely breathing. You need epinephrine but you can’t find any in the hospital. You need oxygen but the one tank available is hooked up to a 2 week-old child. She stops breathing all together so you start giving CPR while her mother collapses to the ground screaming and crying. This nightmare was unfortunately a reality for us at the clinic on Wednesday morning.


Lakica is a 4-yr old girl known to have a tetraology of fallot (TOF), a condition caused by a combination of 4 heart defects that present at birth. She has been a patient of Twalib’s for the past 6 months. Her condition was being managed by medication and follow up appointments however the only real solution would be surgery. No one knows exactly what caused these events but I can honestly say that if Twalib had notbeen around the morning that she came in, she would no longer be with us. He knew exactly what to do (and the ward doctors didn’t..), even with a lack of resources and he did it in such a calm and collected manner. It was one of those situations that I felt absolutely helpless in and simply watched from a distance. Its moments like these that remind my why I want to be a physician. I am happy to report that Lakica is alive and breathing on her own as of this morning.


Besides the chaos on Wednesday morning, everything else went fairly smooth this week. We were able to enroll 15 more patients into the registry, which brings us to 40! Things are moving along nicely and I can’t wait to hit the 100 mark. Twalib and I will both be gone next week but the nurses will continue to enroll patients while we are away so hopefully I will be able to report that we have hit the 50 mark next week.


On Tuesday, Twalib and I continued movie night tradition and watched The Theory of Everything, a movie about physicist Steven Hawking. Overall I thought it was a really good movie and I think Twalib did too.


On Wednesday night I got off work in time to join everyone playing volleyball at BJz. It’s such a great way to unwind while being outside and I’ve had a lot of fun both times I’ve played. It was a great way for me to be active before having to sit down and take a two hour personality test….Say what? Yes- one of the medical schools I applied to required me to take a two-hour personality at a prearranged time. The test was set up MMI (Multiple Mini Interview) style and addressed key personality traits necessary for the medical profession. They offered 10 sessions throughout the summer but I decided to take the first one since it was the only time that was not at 1 or 4am (6pm/9pm East Coast time). Fighting a rough Internet connection, a rooster that wouldn’t shut up and the wedding celebrations occurring in our compound, I would like to think that I did well but only time will tell. I am quickly learning that applying to school online while being here is definitely easier said than done-hoping to finish a few more applications before I leave town.


On Saturday morning I will be headed to Kampala to meet up with a team from Imaging the World to solidify details for our upcoming project. ITW has an existing ultrasound program for prgenant women in rural areas and we plan to implement RHD screening into this program as well. Super excited for this collaboration and the chance to see a part of Uganda that I have never been too. We will be headed to Eastern Uganda (Kamuli and Nywanyago) on Sunday morning, where I will be staying until Friday. I promise to give you updates when I can-that’s all for now!


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Some adorable kiddos at the hospital

1 Comment

  1. No shout out to your editor-in-chief?

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