We are all exhausted. Most of us started the day tired after a long week and I wasn’t the only one planning a low-key weekend.
Worn out though we are, there are few complaints. This is what we are here for after all. And we would do it all again tomorrow if we had to.
2am “Oncall, oncall for ICU – we have one child yes, they are convulsions…” I jolt into wakefulness and am out of my bed and running over to the hospital as fast as I can go telling the nurses to prepare IV diazepam down the radio as I go. This could be anything, but always think worst case scenario… I arrive on the ward and yes, this is actual convulsions, a four-year-old with cerebral malaria.
It’s incredible to watch how fast MSF responds in these evolving situations – the boat went out on Monday – and on Tuesday was sent back to the hospital containing seven patients, mostly women and children with gunshot wounds. A further five arrived the next day. I don’t think I’ve ever looked after a braver patient than the trembling mite of a five-year-old girl with the bullet wound to her shoulder who sat still and tense, holding back sobs while I examined her.