Yesterday was much quieter than the heavy artillery attacks of Monday. Ã? One 18 year old boy was hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell and had a deep wound in the side of his neck. Ã?
"Do you feel this?" I asked as I pricked him with a needle, marching from his stomach, up his chest, towards his head. Ã?
The answer was no until I reached his upper chest. Ã? He could move one of his arms a bit but was otherwise paralyzed from the neck down. Ã? The hole in his neck contained bits of bone from his shattered vertebrae. Ã? The fragments had also collapsed his left lung. Ã? I put in a chest tube to re-expand the lung. Ã?
His father asked me if he'd be OK. Ã?
"He has a very serious injury," I told him. Ã? "I don't think he'll be able to walk again." There wasn't much we could do for him. Ã?
I don't understand how lobbing artillery shells into a densely populated area can be considered a legitimate tactic in war. Ã? Is it overly simplistic for me to say that, unequivocally, this is just plain wrong?
Another patient yesterday was an 18 month old girl who was taking a nap when she woke up screaming. Ã? Her mother didn't know what was wrong. Ã? There was a streak of blood on her left cheek and she wouldn't stop crying. Ã? A vigilant nurse made the diagnosis. Ã? In addition to the tiny bleeding hole in her left cheek, there was a hard lump in the right side of her neck. Ã? She'd been hit by a falling bullet. Ã? The bullet had entered her left cheek and passed through to underneath her right jaw without damaging any of the vital structures in her neck. Ã? Amazing. Ã?
I sedated her, made an incision over the bullet and, with a little manipulation, pulled out the copper-colored AK-47 bullet from her neck. Ã? I explained to the nursing staff that this incredibly lucky little girl was not a typical case. Ã? For every lucky little girl there were probably two who weren't so lucky, dying at home from their injuries. Ã? These patients we will never see.
Dr Andrew Schechtman treating a patient in one of the MSF makeshift facilities in Monrovia, Liberia.
"I don't understand how lobbing artillery shells into a densely populated area can be considered a legitimate tactic in war. Ã? Is it overly simplistic for me to say that, unequivocally, this is just plain wrong?" - Dr Schechtman