Search

Highbury doctor recognised for life saving work in Ethiopia

16:07 21 October 2012

VSO volunteer anaesthesiologist doctor Tom Bashford discusses with a doctor on his ward round in the Intensive-care unit at Yekatit Hosiptal, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

VSO volunteer anaesthesiologist doctor Tom Bashford discusses with a doctor on his ward round in the Intensive-care unit at Yekatit Hosiptal, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ben Langdon Photography

A crusading doctor who spent a year working in Ethiopia has been recognised for his life-saving work.

Anaesthetist Tom Bashford, 32, of Melgund Road, Highbury, recently received the Patient Safety Award from the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland following a year working as a volunteer in a hospital in Addis Ababa.

His skills were invaluable in a poverty-stricken country of 85million people, which has just one anaesthetist for every 5.3million people.

During his 12-month stint for charity VSO, which ended in July, the young doctor shared his knowledge – often simple life-saving skills and practices taken for granted in UK hospitals – with a team of doctors in Ethiopia.

Dr Bashford, formerly of Mildmay Park, Newington Green, said: “I’ve seen how much benefit a trained UK health worker can bring in just one year in Ethiopia.

“I feel there’s a kind of moral obligation on countries with so many trained health professionals to support and encourage them to volunteer overseas.

“I gained my medical skills in the UK and I’ll almost certainly spend my whole career looking after people in Britain.

“But there’s such a desperate need for these skills in poorer countries like Ethiopia. I wish more people could give up a year to share what they know. I’ve seen what a lasting difference it can make.”

During his time there he was able to train staff in how to use life-saving equipment, leaving behind a legacy of knowledge that will undoubtedly save people’s lives.

Before he arrived, patients were dying or suffering brain damage on the wards because their oxygen levels were dropping and over-stretched staff weren’t spotting this until it was too late.

In the UK, pulse oximeters, simple devices that clip on the finger and measure how much oxygen is in the blood, are used routinely.

Dr Bashford found that, despite having been donated the necessary equipment, many of the staff needed training in how to use it effectively.

He said: “You can take these things out of the cupboard, you can confidently explain to people how they’re used, how they can work, and how they can benefit their patients.

“Then you can support that use over a number of months until they come completely routine and as useful to them as they are to us at home.”

Dr Bashford is on a 10-year postgraduate training scheme with University College Hospital and is currently working at King George Hospital in Ilford.

n For more information on VSO visit www.vso.org.uk.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 18:05
Firefighters went on strike at 6pm today.

Firefighters in Islington have gone on strike as part of a long-running dispute with the government over pension reforms.

Yesterday, 17:41
Robert Pattinson. Credit: Press Association.

A casting company is on the hunt for a youngster to star alongside Hollywood superstar Robert Pattinson in a new film.

Yesterday, 17:10
It sold for £275,000 (Picture: Zoopla)

A tiny Barnsbury home dubbed “Britain’s smallest house” has sold for more than £275,000 after attracting global media coverage.

Yesterday, 16:42
Many Freedom Passes need renewing before the end of the year

More than 20,000 older people can renew their free travel card during the next two months.

Most read news

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition