Monday night I took call in the labour ward at Kalafong Hospital. Our little baby factory produced 28 new lives that night, mostly under the competent and cruel oversight of the “Sisters,” the local nursing staff. The med students and residents were entertained by controlling pre-eclampsia, dashing blood down to the lab and trotting off to the theatre every now and then to cut out a baby.
A little background. Kalafong—affectionately known as K-fong, the Fong, the Schlong—is a large public hospital in Pretoria West, a former township on the outskirts of Pretoria. It functions like Charity or Grady, except the nurses are meaner and less helpful, the med students draw blood and there are no attendings to be found anywhere, ever, especially not at night.
The experience was amazing. Both the residents and the students were very competent and very helpful (it has been almost a year since I did my obstetrics and gynaecology rotation). I tried my inept hand at both drawing blood and starting IVs. Neither are easy tasks on oedematous, pre-eclampsic women. But, most of the medical students here are masters. Plus, just like in the US: call = bonding. Overall, I loved it and I will be back soon.
Post-script. You will have to forgive the strange spellings of certain words. I am writing on a South African word processor. U’s and O’s go where they shouldn’t; R’s and E’s are backwards; and everybody drives on the wrong side of the road.