Emergency Response

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Emergency Response

Feliciano was struck by a truck as he tried crossing a road on the chaotic, crowded streets of urban Angola. Lacerated open at the elbow, the lateral ligaments were fragmented, exposed the entire joint space to dirt and gravel, and left his forearm gangling helplessly. Feliciano was carried to a health post were some sutures were placed in a helpless attempt to cover the 5 by 10 inch area where his entire skin was ripped away. The photo is the result of my first surgical procedure for Feliciano – to simply debride, irrigate, and pack the grossly infected wound.

Following the procedure Feliciano will wear a splint and receive daily dressing changes for the next week, along with an IV antibiotic. This will hopefully allow the infection to subside. Next week I’ll take him back to the OR with the objective of reattaching the lacerated tendons that may allow Feliciano the capability of extending his fingers once again. At the moment such motion is impossible. The greater surgical challenge will be to cover this gaping wound with skin grafts and by suturing closed some of the defect. This morning Feliciano spoke with animation: “I will move my fingers once again!”

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