It was the best of times. It was the worst of times

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Dear Friends and Family,
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities. At Soddo Christian Hospital it is the best of times…we must be doing something right for the hospital is maxed out. But this makes it the worst of times… because the hospital is maxed out! Last month we had 92 women giving birth at our hospital, a new record. On top of the maternity rate rising, our nursing and pediatric staff are overwhelmed with the many sick babies that are born here, as well as those sick infants that are delivered at health centers and by home birth and transferred here for care. These babies born outside our hospital are admitted along with their mother into our maternity department. They require antibiotics and intensive nursing care oftentimes for up to a week or more. These patients require a hospital bed and often times a private room for heat. We do not have a neonatal nursery. Some of our mothers have to be delivered early due to severe high blood pressure or severe hemorrhage. Currently we have two babies, one born 10 weeks early and the other 11. They will require a long hospital stay to survive. By the way, most of these babies that stay here for a long time are underwritten by our maternal benevolent fund. Many of you have been so gracious to contribute to this fund. In the past our mothers went home 6 hours after delivery, but now thanks to the good care they receive from Dr. Ayers, our pediatrician and our family doctor, Dr. Becky McClaren, our healthy babies stay a minimum of 24 hours before discharge. We have 15 postpartum, GYN surgery beds in the maternity ward…compared to 30 in the other wards. This is due to the fact that we have a labor room and a delivery room and two clinics operating in the same building.
With our increase in the numbers, we are simply busting out at the seams. We stuffed another bed into our already crowded three bed labor ward. The govt. has informed us that we need a minimum of six. I couldn’t agree more, but we have no space. We have two delivery tables side by side in our delivery room. One of them is our former Gyn exam table. It is now very common to have patients recovering from their surgeries lined up in beds down the hallway because there simply are no other beds or rooms available. We have a few private rooms but they remain full. Two weeks ago patient’s families were literally fighting in the hallway to be admitted into the only available private room.
On top of the maternity increase, our Gyn patient load is escalating. During our two Gyn clinic days, Monday and Thursday, it is not unusual for me to get home at 8 PM. We then have two full surgery days on Tuesdays and Friday with a make-up day on Wednesday. All this to say….It is the best of times (because we are growing) and the worst of times, (because we are overworked and out of space)! We are working on a creative plan to add more clinic space thus creating more bed space. Stay tuned for the details! –An update from Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes, October 2015

Two recovering surgical patients in the overcrowded hallway in the OB ward
Patients in Hallway

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