Mistakes happen, especially when learning something new. Kudjip Nazarene General Hospital has very few diagnostic machines. Thankfully, we do have an ultrasound machine. Unfortunately, I have not been trained in the use or interpretation of these machines. So . . . mistakes happen!
One night as I walked into the Labor & Delivery ward at the hospital, a nurse asked for an ultrasound on a woman who was in labor. This mother was quite large in her pregnancy and the nurses thought they heard two heartbeats, so we suspected she may be having twins. A look at the ultrasound images would let us know if this suspicion was correct.
I scanned the mother’s abdomen with our ultrasound equipment. After looking at the images, I congratulated the mother with the news of twins. Several hours later, the surgeon decided she would need to have these children by C-section. The surgery staff delivered baby #1. Because of the ultrasound diagnosis, they looked for baby #2. They, the mother, and I were surprised that there was no baby #2!
I realized that I never did see both babies in the womb; I just saw the same baby at two different angles! Mistakes happen and everyone had a good laugh. And the mistakes continued.
We suspected our new patient’s baby was in a breach position. I did a quick ultrasound to confirm our diagnosis. The baby’s bottom was down and the head was up. As I ended the scan, I was glad to see that, despite the breach position, the baby’s heartrate was good. Because of the breach presentation, the mother was sent to OR for a C-section. An hour after the delivery, Dr. Jim Radcliffe (her surgeon) saw me in ER and congratulated me on my fine ultrasound notes. “However,” he said with a smile, “this mother had twins!”
“Wow!” I replied, “So that’s where the other twin went!”
I continue to grow in my ultrasound skills and understanding of tropical diseases and their treatment. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.