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October 22nd, 2015

Surgical camp in Keylong



The camp in Keylong from the 12th to the 18th October was a welcome break from the breakneck pace that normally dictates these camps. On arrival, it was fortuitous for a patient brought in just as our vehicles pulled in to the hospital for the first day. A middle aged man was brought in unconscious, having collapsed on his way to work. A quick examination revealed he had a stroke probably in the midbrain region or the brainstem. As his condition was deteriorating rapidly our team quickly intubated him, stabilized him and had him transferred to Manali via the 108 ambulance. We later heard he was subsequently transferred to PGI via our Manali ventilated ambulance. We have no further news of him.


The subsequent days were quite orderly, with a handful of surgeries, and out patient clinics that were not overly busy. The people of Keylong have money and access to medical care, quite of few of them arriving at destinations like Fortiss or Simla or PGI according to their paying capacity. Further, in preparation for winter, quite a few of the families had embarked on their winter migration to lower altitudes in Kullu or Manali. Nevertheless, we saw 870 patients and performed 25 surgeries and 18 eye surgeries.


Our team this time was constituted by the ever faithful Dr. Jai Xavier, eye surgeon from CMC Ludhiana, Dr. Nalini (obstetrician) and her husband Dr. Arun (medicine). Dr. Rao had stepped in from St. Stephens at the last minute to salvage the camp since we did not have an anesthetist to come, and Dr. Jasleen from CMC Ludhiana did all the ultrasound examinations.


Since the load was not heavy, the operating theatre staff did get a break and were able to relax a bit, as did the whole team. All our postoperative patients did well, and we were able to discharge all of them prior to our departure from Keylong.


The highlights of the camp was trek to a nearby Gompa, which appeared deceptively close, but demanded a stiff work out from all the campers to visit. On the last day, Dr. Bishan, our team leader organized dinner round a campfire, accompanied by music playing from our force traveller, and of course, dancing, lots of dancing.


In terms of health needs, though we finished the camp successfully and well this year, I do not sense a great necessity to repeat the camp here next year. So for us from the mission hospital, it will be for now, adieu, Keylong, since we do not think the needs of the people warrant a repetition of the camp here next year.