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Fatma Mohammed Al Saleh: 5% dextrose saline for breakfast
October 03, 2014
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Don’t read this if you are squeamish. This day I learned something new. I learn something new everyday but this was new new, if you know what I mean.

0800 AM. Rise and shine. I walk into the causality theatre to be shocked by the large number of people in there as usual. I could never get used to the over-crowding. It’s a totally different story for another day, but today there was something particularly different.

There was some extra gathering in the far left corner of that operating theatre. One of the patients was lying on a gurney squirming in pain as four people stood at her bloody feet picking at it with forceps. What on earth was going on?

Of course I walked towards them with the curiosity of a five-year-old and towered over their hunched backs to see what they were doing. I squinted, shifted, leaned, and moved my head around trying to get a better look. I couldn’t seem to find the source of damage they were trying to remove.

All I could visualise were two bloody heal wounds with jagged edges and a red meaty like surface. Was I late for the feast?

One of the medical students assisting called for some dextrose saline (D5W for short). Which is a fancy name for medical sugar water. She got the D5W and poured it all over the exposed flesh, which at that moment I thought was a strange choice for flushing out the wound. Little did I know that she was putting the bait. BAIT? Yes bait.  

A few seconds later I could see the wound get busy with strange movement as if the muscles had a life of their own. They started with the forceps again. Grabbing and throwing things into a metal bowl that was at the edge of the not so sterile field. 

Oh my dear God! Jaw drop. Neither my eyes nor my stomach expected that. I felt nauseated just for seconds. Keep in mind I’m not easily disgusted.

Maggots, worms, whatever they were, it was that. One centimetre long cylindrical beige creatures were finding their way out of there.

To anyone other than my Australian colleague and I, this seemed normal. Deep breaths.

After witnessing this we laughed it off and said to each other “at least now we know how to lure wound maggots out!”
Follow on Twitter  Instagram: @_theuntitled
Fatma Mohammed Al Saleh, a 22-year-old Emirati medical student,
is training in general surgery as part of her programme in Sri Lanka.
She is a passionate photographer and writer. Fatma shares her deeply
felt experiences about the healthcare system in Lanka.

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