Intensive Care in Paramaribo

4th of October 2017, by Alexander Magan

Four weeks ago I returned from Suriname as a Medpacker member and a medical intern. At the intensive care unit (ICU) of Academic Hospital Paramaribo I had my first experience providing care in a middle income country. This ICU is the only one of its kind in Suriname, providing care to a high volume of critically ill patients, traumatic injury, as well as cardiothoracic surgery patients. Our team consisted of four to six young doctors, about half of whom are Dutch, supervised by a single anesthetist-intensivist. As the ICU receives donations on a fairly regular basis, I did not deal with supply shortages on a daily basis, however we had to improvise sometimes with disposables such as surgical drapes.

As a Medpacker I brought a couple of laryngoscopes and a coniotomy set for the resuscitation cart, surgical equipment, and disposables such as stoma seals. All equipment was put to immediate use, making their way into sterile surgical sets or for direct patient care. For example, the stoma seals were used for an ileostomy patient during my internship.

During the weekend we had many trips into beautiful Suriname, enjoying nature, wildlife. All the while we learned many things about Suriname’s nature and history. During the evenings, we enjoyed delicious food and cocktails. In conclusion, great people, a great learning environment and awesome trips made this into an unforgettable experience.

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