Aussie saving lives in PNG
I WAS on duty at Buin Health Centre in Bougainville when Joseph was brought in, unconscious and with a fractured skull after being bashed with a rock. The fracture was 5cm wide. It was 11pm, I was the health centre’s only doctor and the nearest surgeon was eight hours’ drive away.
Joseph’s prognosis was poor and I had a very heavy discussion with his wife about possible outcomes. Happily, he was still alive next morning and we drove him to the hospital in Buka, the capital. A surgeon lifted the fracture.
A few days later, Joseph was talking and by the end of the week, he was walking. He and his wife came back to thank me, just before I finished my six months’ work for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
Bougainville people are charming, quick to smile and say hello, respectful and genuine. Kids would work up the nerve to run up to you and practise their English on you, invariably, “Hello. What is your