South Africa photos, part 2

Hello again from South Africa. I have just finished the elective part of my trip, and Simone and I are off to Krueger National Park tomorrow to see some Lions and Elephants and the like. Should be very exciting. Meanwhile, here is the second installment of photos from Baragwanath and Joburg for your general edification.

Same setup as last time: Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version of it.

So this is the sight that greets me every morning when I arrive at the hosptial. The guards are nice guys, but they check who you are on the way in, and check the boot of your car on the way out to make sure that you haven’t nicked anything from the hospital.

This sign gives some numerical impression of the size of Baragwanath. 88 Wards. And that’s only in that direction….

But the upside to the enormity mentioned above is that I have been getting to do a lot of theatre time, and actually doing quite a bit of stuff myself (rather than the usual watching the consultant do everything that you get a lot of in Australia). I also heard someone say that they can admit up to 250 medical patients in a night, so presumably the medical side of things is equally busy.

Occasionally (well OK, quite frequently) you see some odd stuff while walking around the hospital. This is a group of patients getting physiotherapy on the lawn between surgical wards. Note how they all have chest drains in place….

In the same vein as the picture above, this is the queue for the hospital outpatient pharmacy. The disturbing thing is that it’s pretty safe to assume that many of these people are waiting so that they can recieve little more than 20 tablets of panadol and 20 tablets of neurofen (which is the standard “So, you’ve just been hit / stabbed / stitched / debrided / etc. Here’s some pain relief” prescription).

Finally on the hospital front, when people start whinging about their hospital in Australia being run down and falling apart, I’m going to show them this photo. I was in the middle of stitching up a patient in that room when this happened. One of the other med students opened the door, stuck her head around, and the top hinge broke free from the frame. We all had a good laugh (even the patient).

This is also a good comparison to the operating theatre photo from the last set of photos. It illustrates the variation in the quality of the facilities throughout the hospital. On the one hand they have just bought a 3 or 4 million australian dollar MRI machine. On the other hand the doors fall off their hinges.

The oddness is of course not only limited to the hospital. Here we see something you see quite a lot of while driving around town: Laborers riding in the back of open vehicles (in this case a dump-truck, but you see it in utes and small trucks too) on the way to some construction site or other. This is a suburban street, so they’re only doing 60kph, but you also see them on the motorway doing 110kph. It also explains how you frequently get car crashes where 2 cars/vans/utes collide and 15 or 20 people get taken to hospital.

Outside of the hospital the social side has remained busy. Our host, Michael, took Roberta (the other doctor staying at the same place I am) and myself off to his wine tasting club, and we got to spend the night pretending that we knew something about wines. Fun night, and yum wines.

Then on the weekend Simone and I went to the Johannesburg zoo. Here’s a pretty picture of me patting some donkeys.

At the zoo it was also kind of funny to have come halfway around the world, and for one of the cages to contain the rare and exotic Kookaburra….

…Althought there were also giraffes and zebras and lions and gazelles and all the other animals you would expect in a zoo in africa.

Finally here is a picture of Simone enjoying a park bench in the shade when we visited the Botanic gardens. (Just so that you can see that she’s enjoying her holiday here…)