Dr Agnes De Boer and Dr Ronald Oosterhuis

DoctorAgnes de Boer
LocationNamatanai, New Ireland
DateAugust 2016 - February 2017

A Sunday in Namatanai 

It’s a sleepy Sunday afternoon in Namatanai Hospital. But when a patient in the labour ward is diagnosed with a ruptured uterus, everybody is fully awake. A ruptured uterus is an absolute emergency, because the woman is now bleeding heavily into her abdomen. The only option to save her live is to perform an emergency operation.

Will it be possible to do this major operation in Namatanai Hospital? The operating theatre is normally used for small procedures like tubae ligations and reduction of fractures. There is no aesthetic machine. No theatre light. Do we have all the necessary surgical instruments? Referral to Kavieng Hospital is not an option as the woman already starts showing signs of shock due to massive blood loss. We have to operate her in Namatanai Hospital and we have to operate her now.

While the operating theatre is being prepared, several nurses volunteer to donate blood, including Dash who will be the scrub nurse during the operation 20 minutes later. Between dr. Agnes (ADI) and dr. Penny there is enough surgical knowledge and experience to perform the procedure. Dr. Ronald (ADI) is responsible for the anaesthesia.

A little prayer before the first incision is made. After opening the abdomen, 2 litres of blood are removed. 2 hours later the uterus has been removed and the abdomen has been closed. The patient remained stable during the operation. The operation was a success! The life of a mother has been saved. Out of relief and excitement we even do a group hug with the four of us.

After 2 days the patient is transferred to Kavieng hospital for post-operative care. After fighting a post-operative infection she is discharged to be reunited with her husband and children.