Wow! I've said it again and again to the point where it sounds redundant but opportunities like this do not come knocking in the US. Today was such an enlightening day, as it was my first experience with witnessing an actual surgery at the Red Cross Maternity and Family Welfare Center.
After I completed my volunteering at Sweekar, Ammama took me to the Red Cross Family care hospital. This hospital is funded by the national and state government, and specializes in Tubectomies and Vasectomies (which are surgeries that prevent a woman from having a child). I was informed that I would actually get to witness this procedure being done on a few woman, and was so excited to actually see a doctor operate. Before the surgery, I got some information on the procedure, so that I would be able to fully understand the surgery while it was occurring.
There are two procedures to complete the Tubectomy for women. The first one is Lapriscopic and the second is Mini Lapriscopic. In the first surgery the doctor makes two small incisions a couple inches apart, and then sends electricity through the incisions in order to cut or tie off the tubes. If the tubes are cut, then the woman can never have children again, but if they are tied off, it is only temporary. At the Red Cross, local anestethic was given to the patients, which means that anesthetics are only applied to the area of surgery, so the patient is alert and awake, but does not have sensation in the area that is to be operated. General anesthesia is not as efficient as local, because it is far more time consuming, and the patients take longer to recover. I was shocked to hear that they completed approximately 30-40 surgeries in a day, and that each surgery only took 2-3 minutes. Before the surgery, the patients were asked a series of questions about their medical health.
The Red Cross that we visited is doing some pretty cutting edge things. Through government funding they have broadly publicized this surgery and encouraged women and men to undergo it. Most women are unaware of how simple and painless this surgery is and are therefore reluctant to do it. With the addition of religious and moral beliefs, most women are hesitant about the surgery. But the Red Cross has managed to inform women about the benefits of this surgery, and now women from all over the country travel here to have this procedure done. The increasing number of tubectomies and vasectomies results in one thing: population control, which is something that India is in dire need of.
So after I got all the facts on the surgery, I met the surgeon. He was so friendly and compassionate that I was immediately excited to watch him do the surgery. I got geared up in my mask and hair net and chapals, and looking like a legitimate surgeon, I was finally prepared for the surgeries.
It was breath taking to watch the doctor perform these surgeries. The skill and efficiency he demonstrated were flawless and he was able to do about five surgeries in twenty minutes. It truly was unbelievable and I was so happy to be a part of it. While the doctor was operating he explained every little detail to me, and I got so much out of this experience. Here are some of the pictures. But the squeamish should proceed with caution, as these photographs are a bit gory!
After the surgeries were over we gave some of the ladies Sarees and other goodies! They were so relieved that the surgery was complete and so excited to get gifts!