The Surgery Uganda

The Surgery Uganda

I want to congratulate The Eye for relaunching the magazine. As a fully paid-up Luddite I like a magazine I can pick up and put down, browse through it with my coffee, and leave a ring on it using it as a beer mat. No need to worry if the Internet is working or get confused by cookies.

The Surgery Uganda

I wrote articles for the eye for about 20 years: before getting cancelled. I’d be delighted to write health articles in every issue until I get cancelled all over again. I have retired and we are leaving after 42 years in Uganda, we’ve built “a house upon the sand” in the Kalahari. I hope to buy one of the new Kalahari Range Rovers. They have the latest technological innovation, a voice recognition starter: they start with the first click. Ah, the lure of technology.

Covid has caused massive health problems worldwide, probably more so in the richer countries with their drift away from personal care towards over reliance on the latest technology. In our years in Uganda we learnt 2 important lessons about health care that can be applied to most professions, including starting a car. Do the simple things well. Do what you can with what you’ve got. Good medical care is not about the latest technology, the latest investigations or the latest drugs. Technology and innovations are good servants but poor masters. The most important intervention any health worker can make is to be there. The best fertiliser is the farmer’s foot: you can’t care from a distance. You can’t care from behind a screen or staring at one. You don’t make a diagnosis from an MRI or chemical screening, you make it by listening to the patient, finding out what is wrong, asking questions. We say in training “history is king”. Followed by a proper medical examination and clinical assessment. That means keeping the focus on the actual problem so that anything expensive or complicated is directed specifically towards the patient in front of you.

In the UK and I think in many other countries it was almost impossible to see a doctor for 2 years. Almost all consultations were by phone or Skype (whatever that is). They had all the latest technology but only “being there” in person can result in proper care. Most wealthy countries had a lot of deaths including old people dying alone, their only visitors an anonymous figure in a hazmat suit.

Dr Stockley - The Sergery Uganda
Dr Stockley
Dr Stockley Pic 2 Jul Sep 2022
Dr Stockley Hiking

At The Surgery Uganda, we preferred a different approach to Covid care: we saw every patient in our offices face to face as usual. Phone or email consultations have their place but cannot replace the farmer’s foot: to be there, take a good history and do a proper exam. Those severely ill and admitted to ICU needed care more than anything. Someone to listen. To hold their hand. A friendly face, even an ugly old one. To tell bad jokes: laughter can help you cough.

I am retired. Already forgotten by some. Others think about time too. But ideas live on, for those who like The Surgery idea of what it means to care, I can tell you it hasn’t changed

Care means being there, doing the simple things well, doing what you can with what you’ve got.

The Surgery Uganda

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Telephone numbers (reception): +256 (0) 31 225 6001/2/3 and +256 (0) 772 756 003
Emergency Numbers: +256 (0) 752 756 003 and 0256 (0) 31 225 6008
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