November 12, 2014
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: The Departments of Surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe, Malawi, formed a partnership of service, training, and research in 2008. We report a case of recurrent pancreatitis leading to pancreatic necrosis treated at KCH. PRESENTATION OF CASE: A 42 year-old male presented to KCH with his fourth episode of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. He had tachycardia, guarding, rebound tenderness, and free fluid on abdominal ultrasonography. He underwent laparotomy and had fat saponification with pancreatic necrosis. A large drain was placed, he was given antibiotics, and he recovered. He had normal lipids, no gallstones, and did not consume alcohol. He was encouraged to seek further evaluation with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or computed tomography in South Africa, however this was prohibitively expensive. DISCUSSION: This case illustrates the limitations that are often faced by surgeons visiting developing countries. What we consider standard resources and treatment algorithms in managing necrotizing pancreatitis in developed countries (such as serum lipase and percutaneous interventions) were not available. CONCLUSION: Visiting surgeons and trainees must be both familiar with local resource limitations and aware of the implications of such limitations on patient care. To support training and promote advances in health care, local surgeons and trainees should understand optimal treatment strategies regardless of their particular resource limitations. North-South partnerships are an excellent means to uphold our professional obligation to humanity, promote health care as a right, and shape the future of health care in developing countries.
Notes: Samuel, Jonathan C