Day 14, Pull the Pin…

Day 14 of 46, daily Lenten blog journey

We had an older gentleman show up at the hospital a couple days ago hoping we could help him with his leg.  He sustained an accident and had broken the lower bones in his right leg.   He went to one of the most well known hospitals in Honduras.  They reduced his bones and put external fixators in to stabilize the fractures (in other words, they set his bones straight, and stuck some pins in to keep them in place.). It’s a procedure our surgeons occasionally have to perform as well.  It looks like this:

Image result for orif tibia fibula photo


Peter (not his real name) was doing really well at this point.  The surgeon had done a decent job.  He was walking around without too much trouble, just had a slight limp and walked with a little makeshift cane.  The entry points of the pins looked great, no signs of infection.  His hope in coming to us was that we could take all of the hardware out.  Apparently, he had gone back to the other hospital 6 times in hopes of having the pins removed, only to be turned away.

What made it a bit strange was that the pins had been in place for 14 months!  That’s a long time for an uncomplicated fracture such as his was.  Normally it would have been less than 14 weeks.  He was desperate to get them out, and he was very fortunate they had not caused an infection by this time.

I’m not an orthopedic surgeon, but I chatted with one of our surgeons briefly, who said it was high time to Pull those Pins.  He told me it wasn’t rocket-science (or even brain surgery) to take the things out.  So I grabbed the tool box and drill, and out they came.  He was quite relieved and thankful.

I had the thought that if we properly sterilized everything, we might be able to reuse some of the hardware for a future surgery.  However, Peter said he needed the apparatus back, as he needed to return it the surgeon.  I thought, “you mean the same surgeon who wouldn’t take this stuff out for 14 months?  I don’t think he needs it too bad, bro.”  But I gave it to him, as it’s likely he had to put a deposit down on it.  In fact, for most orthopedic surgeries here in Honduras, the patient has to go to a medical hardware store and buy the supplies himself, or rent it from the hospital.  Often times they have to wait weeks or months for a procedure that should be taken care of in a matter of a couple days.

Needless to say, we service a lot of people’s orthopedic needs here, and they are usually quite grateful for good and prompt care.

Photo of the Day:

Little girl at her home, outside of Bejucal River


14 Down, 32 to go.  See you tomorrow

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