Committed to the cause - KPH staff going the extra mile to save lives
Dr Junior Green vividly remembers the day he and his colleagues worked tirelessly to save the life of a 17-year-old boy, who was stabbed in the back with a knife which entered his spleen.
This is just one of the life-saving missions the resident anaesthetist in the Intensive Care Unit at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) has embarked on in the close to 10 years at the institution which is marking its 240th year.
"He came into the Accident and Emergency Department and was sent to the operating theatre. When he came to the operating theatre, we were unable to get a pulse, we were unable to get a blood pressure. The only thing we had that could give us evidence that there was life is the fact that we could see his heart beating, through his thin chest wall," recalled Green.
"We worked with him and when they went in, they found about four litres of blood in his abdomen, took out his spleen, and managed to clamp the aorta. We did all we could to make sure that we got back blood pressure to a pulse and that we got a heart rate. When the surgery was finished, he was transferred to the recovery room and we thought everything was OK and he was going to be fine," added Green.
But the team was wrong as Green soon received a call that the patient was showing serious signs of further deterioration.
"I took a break to start the next case, then we were called saying the blood pressure was dropping and we are not going to have a blood pressure by the time we got there. So we started compression, we got him back after five minutes, but the heart stopped and we had to pump the chest.
"After about five minutes we again lost output, so we started compressing again. I thought to myself that something must be wrong. After doing all we did, we should have a blood pressure. I was determined because we have a heart that is working, he's young, so we were going to try everything," said Green.
After all the pressure, the medical doctor breathed a sigh of relief as the boy recovered and was released from the institution.
"We looked at the abdomen, we didn't see any abnormalities so we went back to theatre. When we went back, there was another three litres of blood in his belly. They eventually found that one of the vessels from the pancreas was bleeding and so we stopped the bleeding. We were able to carry him out to the recovery room. He was sent to the ward and he walked out of this institution alive," Green declared.
That is one of the many success stories that Green recalls in his time at the KPH where, despite the severity of incidents and resource constraints, the team maintains its primary goal, which is to save lives.
Green noted that if given more resources, there is a lot more that the committed staff at the institution can do "because of what we have been doing with the little that we have".