Doctors, nurses doing fantastic job

Dear Editor,

Interesting reading a report in the 23rd September issue headlined “Govt. priorities slammed” wherein Moe Lei Sam expressed her disappointment about the lack of priority given to adequately resourcing our National Hospital while monies are continually being poured into sports facilities. 

What attracted my attention most is her comment about staff shortage and how overworked they were.  But it isn’t just people in Samoa who are saying this.

Last year, Mr Strawbridge from Hamilton who came to assist our Manu Samoa prepare for their test against the All Blacks but fell ill on arrival, and ending up in the intensive care said on TV here that he felt nothing but gratitude for the overworked doctors and staff of TTM Hospital. Throughout the programme, Mr Strawbridge and his wife just could not stop praising the skills of our doctors and nurses for the care he received before being airlifted to New Zealand. 

He and his family have now set up a website where people could donate money to help buy basic necessities for our hospital which New Zealand hospitals take for granted. 

They reminded me of my own situation late in 2014 when I had to undergo a major operation on my right leg that I would have lost but for the skills of our medical staff. I ended up spending six weeks at TTM’s Acute 7. Of the forty (40) or so patients in the unit, I was the only non-diabetic one. Some had had their limbs amputated. And they all had to be looked after at night by just three nurses.

Like Mr Strawbridge, I have nothing but heart felt gratitude to our doctors and nurses especially Dixon Hansell and his surgical team.

On arrival back in Palmerston North after being discharged, I was immediately admitted to Mid-Central Hospital for observation. The specialists who examined my injuries took one look and commented that I was very lucky not to have lost my leg as it appeared I had a nasty case of cellulitis. 

Then came the next question: “Where did you have your operation done?” When I said Samoa, the two looked at each other as if they didn’t believe Samoa have surgeons capable of carrying out such an operation.

After they’d read my medical report from Mr Hansell, one of the specialists turned to me and said, “Mr Kelekolio, whoever operated on your leg did a fantastic job. We couldn’t have done any better.”

I just felt like saying, “Yeah, and doctors in Samoa use machetes instead of scalpels!”  

Today, every time I see those vertical scars on both sides of my leg, from ankle to knee, I just wondered how many of us who keep complaining about our local doctors and nurses know how skilful some of them are. 


Mika Kelekolio

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