Flower pots, pigs feet & shoelaces

Looking at the title of this page you might think we have gone a little crazy and whilst a little fun and mild craziness does help us get through our day, the subject of this story is actually serious business. It’s all about saving lives, by training doctors in Madagascar, one of the 20 neediest countries in Africa, basic surgical skills.

Well a few weeks ago some tables in ward “E” on the Africa Mercy were turned into makeshift operating tables where volunteer surgeons Dr. Marc Bullock and Dr. Jack Broadhurst both from the United Kingdom used some rather unusual materials to teach dozens of local doctors some very useful surgical skills.

In the photo you will see some rather strange contraptions made from flower pots and synthetic skin tied on using shoe laces that are designed to replicate the conditions the doctors would encounter when they operate on a live patient and help these doctors learn important skills before they actually try them out on real people.

So were not crazy after all and the shoelaces were used to teach the doctors how to tie the correct knots in sutures (surgical stiches), the pigs trotters were used to teach the doctors how to perform a tendon repair, and the flower pots covered with synthetic skin used to show them how they should close a wound.

We would like to thank you to Johnson & Johnson, the Royal College of Surgeons (UK) and the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland for partnering with Mercy Ships to help local Malagasy doctors gain these important skills and for the investment in the national healthcare infrastructure of Madagascar!