Posted on 12 June, 2013

This post is by Michael Were, Manager of OHI.

Yesterday I spent a few hours inside the Operating Theatre.

The theatre and anaesthetic teams work hard (not that anyone else isn’t) but these guys put in some long hours. At the hospital at 7am for a ward round for the docs and setup & prep for the nursing staff. Finish sometime between 6pm and 9pm depending on how the operations go.

There are two theatres – aptly name The Kangaroo theatre & The Kumul Theatre. For those of you not sure what a Kumul is, it is the national bird of PNG (click here for more info).

The Kumul theatre is “owned” by the local team, and while the Aussie staff are involved, it is primarily a teaching environment for the local surgical team who refine their skills under the watchful eye of Dr. Graham Nunn, senior surgeon on the team. The Kangaroo theatre, is the reverse. While the local staff gain important experience with working with the Aussies.

There is a great friendly rivalry between the two theatres. An elaborate point scheme has been sorted out, with Dr. Darren Wolfers the chief adjudicator and judge. At the end of the week, a winner is declared. The Kumuls have won that last couple of years, but it is evenly poised heading into Day 4 of operating!

The plan is usually 6 cases a day, and so far since Sunday there have been 17 cases completed. Add to this the 14 operations the local team did in the days before we even arrived, and that is 31 so far!

Surgeons in action in PNG the heart lung machine working hard in PNG

PNG theatre in action

Setting up for the next patient in PNG the heart lung machine in action in PNG

the multitude of tubes used during surgery