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Pediatric Surgery Monday

April 4, 2011

The two Profs talking about retirement and the future.

I really enjoy operating with the senior surgeons at MTRH. You learn so much from those who have gone before. (Definitely a biblical concept that is emphasized over and over). These senior surgeons have been in the trenchs for decades in some instances, but yet they come to work everyday. They tolerate the inefficiency of the system and do the best that they can for the patients–day after day and year after year. It’s interesting to listen to their perspectives and stories.

Last Monday, I had a unique opportunity to talk to Prof Otsyula and Prof Tenge (Kuremu). (We call them “Prof” not professor in the academic realm, and Doctor or “Daktari” in the clinical realm.) Otsyula is a cardiothoracic surgeon who trained in the UK. Tenge is a pediatric surgeon who trained in Durban, SA. The two profs were expressing their frustration about how slowly the system changes, and how Kenya could be in a position to be part of the developed world–contributing to research, technology etc.

[Otsyula in particular is probably feeling his age and his pending retirement acutely as he is 65 and will be leaving at 70. It’s hard to be the solo practitioner on call for your field for twenty years. So I am sure that he is looking forward to having time in his village and simply walk up and down the streets talking to members of his tribe.

What was most striking about the conversation is that both expressed hope that things would continue to improve even though it’s a roller coaster of progress for them instead of a steady increase in progress as we see in the US. They were also astounded that Americans can not manage their finances well enough to plan for retirement. In fact, they even worry about some aging Americans who are MTRH faculty and have no retirement plan, no health insurance etc.

Operating with Prof Tenge

I have to wonder how often do we chafe in our system when things aren’t done that day. What would we feel like if we waited decades and only saw the roller-coaster of progress–big ups and big downs. What would make anyone want to continue like that? Is this how the Israelites or at least the prophets felt in the Old Testament? Fortunately, there is hope as God’s love is consistent. I’m grateful for this constant in my life.  For these two profs, I don’t know if they are Christians, but I can say they run the race with perseverance. I only hope I can do the same as Paul writes in Hebrews 12.

“… let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

 

The Prof of Peds Surgery placing his own IV...another example of servanthood

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