walked in to find the patient was amazingly awake and able to answer questions, despite having been shot through the neck not long before.
examined Kalap, he
discovered that, thankfully, the bullet didn't go through any major blood vessels, his
spinal cord, bones or brain, which is one reason why he
However, the bullet did go through his
pharynx, which was going to create problems in the near future for the patient to be able to breathe.
would stabilize the patient and then call Jim Radcliffe, our surgeon, and let him know of the need for establishing a better surgical airway (by putting a tube into his
neck - a tracheostomy.) But on this Friday night, Jim was enjoying the last weekend he
had with his
kids and grandkids at Kugark, and so he
wasn't available to help.
considered sending the patient to a referral hospital in Mt. Hagen, but it was already dark and there was a chance nothing would be done in the night there, and so he
decided to keep Kalap here, knowing that he
might yet require a better airway.
In the next few hours, Kalap's neck swelled more and more from the effects of the gunshot wound; his
breathing became more and more labored.
knew this man was going to die unless the doctors could get a better airway into him, so Bill
took him to the operating room to see if he
could be intubated or to try a cricothyrotomy (cutting a hole just below the adam's apple and putting a tube into the trachea to help him breathe).
, David (our anesthetist), Vero (our scrub technician) and now I, were working to get everything ready to try and intubate him and, if necessary, to do the emergency cricothyrotomy.