getting things done in south africa is subject to numerous unique frustrations, some of which i might have allured to in the past. one such typical case had to do with the lifts (elevators) in the old academic hospital in pretoria.
the old academic hospital was made many years ago. then over time as medicine advanced it got bigger in increments. finally it was a poorly designed conglomeration of buildings with multiple small wings all connected with sometimes tiny corridors. over and above that the eastern half of the hospital was totally different. it was a single story sprawling mass of wards, all opening to the outside world. the theaters were on the second story in the western half of the hospital. to get a patient to theater from casualties therefore you needed to take the lifts.
the hospital had a total of ten lifts, a few for each section of the strangely laped together place, but, as is typical of the maintenance ethic in south african state hospitals, only one lift worked at any given time. this added a unique aspect to an already high stress resus effort in casualties.
so generally in the high stress resus efforts, when you get to the exciting stage when you rush the patient to theater with all the fanfair usually only seen on american television medical dramas, one of the things that must be added to the mix is the identifying of the working lift. at this stage, what is required is to send three students ahead to the different lift areas to identify the working lift and to summon said lift. he then was required to shout down the passage to the other students that he had the lift. they, in turn, would relay the message to us and we would go directly towards that lift. i would always stay with the patient, usually bagging the patient with an ambubag.
after this usually the operation itself could not really deliver any more stress than had already been experienced.