The wood cutter
As I entered the village, I was greeted by a very dejected young villager, his arm hanging limp at his side. His right hand on his little son’s head. Some thing drew me to him. I walked over and as I got closer I could see his arm was covered with a shabby bandage, his hand ballooned out from under it, swollen and infected. He looked up at me with a pleading look in his eyes; I could see he was in a desperate state. I later returned with a crew member and our medical kit to see what I could do. I found out that 9 days ago he was felling trees and his axe had slipped, hitting his arm and breaking both bones just above the wrist – for that past 9 days he had been suffering, no city or hospital for 100km, just jungle, there is absolutely no medical help.
I sat down in his hut, I can tell you the pity that I felt for this guy and the suffering that he was going through, but not a single moan, slowly I removed the bandages, scared at what was going to be exposed, I started to sweat and shake, and I had never dealt with anything like this. The last bandage came loose and a little stick fell off his arm, with this his arm moved, and the whole swollen hand flopped forward limply on the table his arm was totally broken through both bones. I could see the pain exploding across his face.
Quickly straitening his arm, I began to panic myself, what the hell do I do?
Shouting for Daniel, “Get me a cardboard box”. Quickly cutting a piece the length of his arm, making 2 folds into it, I slid it around his arm to support it, then filled it with material as a cushion. Cutting another strip, I supported the top of his arm keeping the bone in place and straight. I then got a roll of this special self adhesion bandage Cipla-plast and began to firmly bind this tightly round his arm from the elbow to the wrist. What a relief to see the arm finally splinted and secure. I then cut the strap from my bag and made him a sling.
I gave him a couple of pain killers and some anti-inflammatory pills to help the swelling and pain. We then scraped together what cash we had to put him on a Taxi-Brousse to the closest hospital some 150 km away.