A Maxillofacial surgery

Documentary, Mercy Ships, Photojournalism

This is Gafar, a patient who I’m following along with Claire, one of our writers on the Africa Mercy.

He has a large facial tumour and the next series of photos show the scenes I saw in the Operating Room while Mark Shrime performed surgery on him.

This is obviously quite a tough time for a 10 year old like Gafar, you can see from his medical portrait at the top that he has not been happy in a long time due to his tumour and he is about to be put under general anaesthetic for the first time to have it removed. I was not allowed in the room for this as because it is a stressful time, it is best to have as few people as possible surrounding the patient.

Dr. Shrimes marks out where he will cut on the face before injecting local anaesthetic at crucial points.

Gafar is doused in an antiseptic solution before any incisions are made.

OR nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons make the last minute checks before starting surgery.

One of the surgical assistants makes sure excess blood is immediately sucked away – partly to make things easier for the surgeon, partly to see how much blood is being lost.

With an operation like this when a large tumour is being removed there is a lot of excess skin that flaps and can get in the way, so a lot of clamps are needed to pull it back far enough.

An this is the culprit itself on the operating table. With luck and the skill of the team it’s hopefully been totally removed, with no traces left.

The anaesthetist, Kristin attaches a pack of blood ready for a transfusion.

Some phone calls are important enough to warrant interrupting surgery.

having sewn up the flap of skin, staples are added to ensure nothing gets loose.

Gafar’s surgery is finished. At this point I left as I was on call to take medical shots elsewhere so I haven’t yet seen Gafar awake. Hopefully I will tomorrow, and I can photograph a post-op medical shot to complete the archive. I believe Claire will be doing a story about him over the next week or so at some point, so check her blog for it.


2 thoughts on “A Maxillofacial surgery

  1. That last photo of Gafar is lovely, with the light on his much restored face. I look forward to seeing him again when all the surgery has settled.

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