Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Shanti's clinic was closed yesterday because of a holiday, but I accompanied Nama, who was on call for the day, while he was changing the catheters for a few residents with spinal injuries- something he does about once monthly. In the middle of his routine duties he got called down for an emergency- 35-year-old Prem Maya Dhungal had come in badly dehydrated from a bad case of diarrhea- a condition that can quickly become life threatening if not treated in time.
Prem's 11-year-old daughter Kasma came with her. The medical clinic facilities at Shanti are less than state-of-the-art, and when I asked Nama why she didn't go to the hospital instead, he answered, "Because she's poor. She would have had to pay 2,000 rupis (about $30 US) at the hospital, which she doesn't have. They would have turned her away." Nama said that she had arrived just in time- in another hour she would have collapsed.

Nama's assistant in all of this was 13-year-old Narez,who he called to... "Nurse"... when he wanted him to come help. Narez came to live at Shanti with his brother after they were orphaned by the Maoist insurgency.

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