Dr. Muthyala Checks In From Arusha, Tanzania


Kilimanjaro, as seen from Mount Meru


Today was a regular day on the pediatric wards at Selian Hospital in Arusha, TZ......

The day began with a Continuing Medical Education given by the palliative care teams at the hospital. In the middle of rounds, a nurse informed us about a very ill child that had been brought to the outpatient clinic.

We rushed to the clinic, where we found an infant apneic. At this hospital, the nurses have minimal pediatric or neonatal resuscitation training, so nothing had been done. Quickly we
began bagging the child, found otherwise good vitals, and obtained a history.

A one-week-old boy, born at home without any prenatal care, was doing well until a few days ago, when he began to have fevers and had a seizure today.

The family initially presented to an outpatient clinic, where the child was given oral amoxicillin (a capsule of amoxicillin was opened and given to the child orally) without any improvement.

The child had a strong pulse, good chest rise with bagging but was coughing. Bulb suctioning resulted in the removal of about 2-4 ml of pink fluid, which was thought to be not blood but the amoxicillin that the child was aspirating.

There was no oxygen available in the outpatient clinic, so the child was taken (while ambu bagging) to the pediatric ICU. Oxygen via nasal cannula was started, and the child began to breath spontaneously.

The child was found to be hypothermic and there is no incubator so the mother was instructed to place the child in direct contact with her own skin. After this his vitals stabilized.

We started empiric treatment for meningitis (without an LP or blood cultures, because neither is available or reliable at the hospital) but first taught the ICU nurse how to dilute a vial of 250mg of ceftriaxone into 150mg doses, and then instructed how to mix D5NS and D5W to make D5 ½ NS for maintenance IV fluids.

Then back to rounds.

Doing well here in TZ, have one more month before coming home.. Happy Holidays, everyone!



Brian Muthyala doing x-ray teaching at Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania