Serving Kenya’s underserved
For Thomas Ebner, MD, retirement brings mutually rewarding experience for patients, physician
Dr. Noreika: Walk us through a typical day. When you’re in Kenya and the sun is coming up—and I presume they still have some roosters that crow—what do you do and when does it end?
Dr. Ebner: I usually get up around 5 a.m., and yes, there are a lot of roosters and chickens. I work out, get something to eat, and get ready for the day.
We usually start rounds at 7 a.m. and then surgery starts around 8 a.m., although you have to get used to African time, which isn’t the same as American time. Things usually start around the time they say, but they never put starting times on the surgery board. It’s supposed to be 8 a.m., but maybe it will be 9 a.m.
Since it is a mission hospital, they often have spiritual conferences before the day starts. But then we usually work until around 5 or 6 p.m., depending on when we get done. But we never really get everything done. Things run over into the next day. That’s the way it goes.
On Saturdays and Sundays we only see emergencies. Most orthopedics cases are trauma—such as long-bone fractures, femurs, tibias, upper extremities, pelvises, sometimes spines. Some of the mission doctors will occasionally do elective surgery—such as a total hip or total knee—but I don’t.
I am on call about twice a week. They call people like me ‘consultants.’ In the states, we call them ‘attendings.’