In early 2019, our outreach team found 40 year old Negatu in a remote community in Oromia and brought him to our pre-operative centre. Our lead nurse, Raj Mashiana, reflects on Negatu's journey during the 2019 Complex Mission.

When Negatu arrived at our pre-operative centre, we quickly realised that he was very sick. He had a huge lower jaw mass - I'd never seen such a large mass in my life. On arrival to the centre he was immediately taken to A+E as he was very unwell and potentially in septic shock from an infection on his mass. He was admitted on the ward at Yekatit-12 government hospital (where we do our surgeries during the mission) and remained an in-patient there throughout the whole two weeks of pre-op. When our surgeons arrived in Addis and first saw his case, they thought we wouldn't be able to operate on him because he was so sick and his mass was so severe.

Over the next week, he was treated with IV antibiotics to fight the infection and get him better as he was still very weak. Our nurses looked after him 3-4 times a day and our fantastic Dietician, Natasha, supported his progress by building up his strength and optimising his nutrition. After a week of monitoring his progress carefully, I spoke with the medical team about the plan for Negatu's surgery and aftercare. We needed to ensure we were all up to date and the nurses could process and feedback any information they needed to.

We also asked our Ethiopian colleagues to review him and help us make an informed team decision as to whether he was suitable for surgery. They assessed his condition and told us that we should operate. We spent a few days discussing, planning, re-discussing and planning. We finally allocated him a date for surgery. We planned for an Intensive Care bed for after surgery - due to the severity of his mass we thought he would need 1:1 care after surgery and he would need close monitoring.

On the day of his surgery, our International and Ethiopian surgeons worked closely together - the teamwork I saw was amazing! Negatu’s operation took many many hours but it was carefully thought out and we had all the experts on his case. His surgery was a huge success and after the anaesthetists assessed him, he was deemed safe to return to the ward. His transformation was incredible and he did not even need the Intensive Care bed afterwards!

He has gone on to be the most amazing human beings I have ever met. At the post-op centre he has continued working hard on his nutrition, physio and exercises - we can already see his results of consistent wound care from our nurses and he’s even putting on weight!

Negatu’s case shows us how fantastic teamwork, hard work and dedication can change a life. And here he is……