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Charity Evacuations – Saving A Life In Turkana

Our core mandate, as the Flying Doctors Society of Africa is to fundraise for AMREF Outreach programme and charity evacuations. We carry out Charity evacuations in special circumstances where a victim is in a life threatening situation and requires urgent and specialized medical attention. The charity evacuations are mainly carried out in areas where medical facilities are not close by and where patients cannot afford an air evacuation.

On 19/03/12 1000hrs, a distress call was made to AMREF Flying Doctors Service emergency Control room from a Nurse at Illeret health centre Turkana that there was a patient who had been assaulted by a crocodile. He had sustained fractures on the left leg and left side of the body. Illeret is located on the shores of the Lake Turkana inhabited by the Turkana people. The land is communally owned in form of government trust lands. Due to lack of rains in the area, the Turkana people are subjected to poverty and thus the community risk their lives in trying to fend for food.

On this fateful day, Hille Nyatike was out fishing in the cold waters of the Lake Turkana at 0300hrs when he was attacked by a crocodile. Nyatike bravely tried to fight back by stabbing the crocodile’s eyes but unfortunately he was unsuccessful. He was saved by the quick action of his friend. Had Hille’s friends not acted quickly, he would have forever sunk in the Crocodile’s abyss in the cold dark waters of the Lake Turkana. Hille survived the crocodiles bite but needed urgent medical attention otherwise the bacteria in the animals filthy teeth would surely kill him.

On arrival at Illeret, we found a team already waiting with the patient seated at the back of a pick up truck. He had bled significantly and looked dehydrated. He was given pain medication with the help of the curious onlookers who assisted us get him out of the truck to a vacuum mattress on the aircraft stretcher. His limb was then immobilised, ensuring there was no bleeding from the wounds.

The plane took off for Wamba which is one hour and twenty minutes from Illeret. The patient was stabilized with IV fluids to control his pain. Finally, we landed in Wamba and took the patient to the hospital. Later the plane took off for base at Nairobi Wilson airport and landed at 5pm a day’s work successfully accomplished.

On a follow up call to Wamba hospital the X-rays showed no limb fracture but a dislocation of the left knee for which a cast was put in place. He was put on antibiotics and dressing of the wounds done aseptically once every day. He however tested positive for Malaria. He was treated with quinine and has since recovered. We are glad that finally one more life had been snatched from the Crocodile’s teeth and kept alive.

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