Posted on 14 May, 2013

This post is by Warwick Creeper, Manmar Team Blogger.

Dear All,

I’ve noticed a location theme has been developing in my recent blogs. So much so, that I’ve included a map with each. Well the good news is, I’ll refrain from including a map this time! However, I still want to talk more about location, ha ha.

Consider this. Imagine you are just your average Aussie health practictioner that has volunteered for an Operation Open Heart in Yangon, Myanmar. Someone has probably already held your hand and brought you to the hospital you are working in. But what about if you need to walk around inside these large hospitals, from department to department? It’s so easy to lose direction in a maze of corridors, floors, and rooms. Don’t bother asking for help, because most can’t speak English.

I’ll show you what saved me last year from the abyss and oblivion. It was a HAPPY NEW YEAR gold tinsel decoration that remains in situ all year and every year. It was my home base landmark and godsend! The funny thing is that the inhabitants in the Yangon General Hospital, God bless them all, probably have little idea what it really means. Myanmar writing is arguably more foreign than their spoken word. Anyway, not such a bad sign to have up forever.

Happy New Year sign Yangon General Hospital
See those two good looking guys in the blue t-shirts, standing under ‘my’ Happy New Year banner? They are James McCauley and Paul Cookson, the biomeds. Living legends! What is so good about them? You may ask. They fix and rebuild all the hospital and Operation Open Heart’s equipment we need in use. Some machines, in use and dormant, were made in the 1980s. So often we really need a machine to work, in order to keep someone alive. They very reliably make it happen. It may sometimes require taking a piece from another piece of equipment, or running off to haggle at the market. Errr, no pressure. We need one in two hours… In cardiac surgery and intensive care, we love to have a reliable Blood Gas Machine, which tells us a whole lot on a biochemical level. Without one, it’s perhaps like walking through a room in the dark. Catia Da Costa-Wooler was our ever reliable pathologist in Yangon, making sure all our ABG machines were functioning in each of the hospitals that Operation Open Heart was involved with. The picture below shows her in education mode, telling local practitioners what to touch and what not to.

Pathology teaching Yangon General Hospital
Bye for now. Warm Regards to All.
Operation Open Heart Team
Tags:  Myanmar,