“In a remote area of Nepal, an eight-year-old boy is carried into a tiny hospital by his grandparents. The boy has fallen from a height and sustained a complex fracture in his elbow. Treating the injury will require resetting and stabilizing bones, but this involves a specialized surgery and medical hardware not available to the only doctor in the area, whose hospital is hours away from the nearest city or specialist. Worse yet, the boy’s circulation has been impeded by the fracture, and without treatment, he will lose the use of his hand and forearm.
The doctor does what he can to set the bones and stabilize them, which he does by sedating the boy himself (there are no anesthesiologists where he works), setting the bones, and stabilizing the fracture with metal wiring, all while taking direction from an open textbook.
Incredibly, the surgery is a success. The boy will make a full recovery.
A week after the operation, Professor Karl Stobbe at McMaster University looks over post-operation x-rays from the case. Glancing over his shoulder, his colleague, an orthopedic surgeon, remarks, “That’s honestly as good a job as I could’ve done.”
It’s an incredible feat of medical resilience and resourcefulness that Stobbe says he has witnessed many times. For the past three years, Stobbe has been working with Nepal’s Patan Academy of Health Sciences to build the country’s capacity to train doctors for practice in rural areas, an effort that will have an enormous impact on the wellbeing of those living in these areas.”
Read more of this article about the work of AWB in Academica’s Today’s Top Ten in Higher Ed on March 27, 2019.