The Story Of Isatu


Isatu, a middle aged lady, was brought in to City Garden Clinic one late afternoon. She had been involved in a severe traffic accident with an “Okada”, the typical motor bike taxi in Sierra Leone. She had a broken hip and on the other side the pelvis was broken. She also had a fracture on the right lower arm. X-rays were needed to confirm the initial diagnose and be able to judge the extend of the damage. Since City Garden does not have X-ray facilities she had to go to the Government Hospital in Makeni, some 4 miles away which involved negotiating about 2 miles of bad dirt roads full of potholes and bumps. She was put in the back of a pick-up truck since the hospital does not have an ambulance. Uncomfortable under normal circumstances, excruciatingly painful in her condition.

After her return with the X-rays she was operated on the same evening, pins placed in her legs and put on traction. After three (!) months lying on bed on traction, new X-rays were taken showing that the fractures had healed nicely. Although it was explained to her that it would take a while and lots of practicing before she could walk again properly, Isatu was a bit disappointed that she could not walk straight away after the pins were removed. However, as practicing with the aid of a walking aid progressed she became more happy and in the end she could walk normal again.

Had Isatu gone to the government hospital in Makeni she probably could not have been treated there. Although this hospital is the second line referral hospital for the whole Northern Region with over 2.5 million inhabitants, not always a doctor is available, certainly no “bone-doctor” of which there are only a very few in Sierra Leone. Even simple wrist fractures and the like go untreated or are treated in the wrong way, resulting in a life long disability. Orthopedics in City Garden Clinic certainly make a difference.