Scalpel's Edge

A surgeon's notes

Tansen Hospital

Over time, what was bizarre has become everyday.  I have worked at Tansen Hospital for eleven months now.  Initially, I had to get used to the building – corridors open to the air, handmade beds, faded linen.  It became clear that we have very high class staff, and within the limits of our resources, we provide high class care.  However, it looks different to other hospitals I have worked in.

Some of that is financial – there are fancy hospitals elsewhere in Nepal.  Some of the restrictions are also practical.  With unreliable power, it is foolish to have a hospital that has elevators, or sliding doors, or even is sealed in such a way that central air conditioning is required.  We have a single air conditioner in each operating theatre, which are absolutely necessary in the height of summer, but apart from that, we need ventilation.

I thought it would be nice to collate a few photos to describe our home.


Patients often come through the emergency department.  When my father in law was here a few months ago, he fell and broke a hand in his wrist and was able to experience the ED first hand.  Our emergency is a very big open room with a horseshoe desk in the middle.  Partition curtains are hung from fencing wire that is strung across the room.  We have paramedical staff who clark the patients in the same way a triage sure would do at home.

Xray dept

Our X-ray department has been upgraded recently to digital X-rays, with much better quality.  Not everyone needs to be on a trolley for an X-ray.


We don’t have radiologists to report our images, so we use the nearest skylight as a light box.  The light boxes only really get used when people want to take a photo of an X-ray.

Ward bed

(Not my father in law.)  Our hospital beds are made by our workshop.  Some have bars above to allow for easier mobilisation, or traction.  Some have pullies.  Some are longer and some are shorter.  Some are trundle beds that roll away if they’re not being used.  If the hospital is very full we have low beds throughout the corridors of the hospital.

Paeds ward

This kid in the pads ward couldn’t reach his captain america toy, so he fashioned a loop out of his sling and tried to lasso him up.  If you’re a big kid and there are no big kid beds left, you just sleep in a cot.  Lots of mums sleep in the cots with their kids as well.


And baby sibling might sleep under the cot in a swinging cradle made from a shawl!

Night! Night!

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