Recently while working in the Bajrabarahi clinic I had the opportunity to help someone with an infected wound. A middle aged woman came into the clinic with a swollen, painful finger and a flesh wound that was clearly infected. Apparently she had placed her hand on the ground to help her stand up and she felt something prick her finger. After 6 days her finger began to hurt and after 10 days she was in our clinic asking for help. Her finger was swollen with parts of her skin that seemed to be shiny and lacked the texture of normal skin. The wound was open, roughly .5 inches in diameter, exposing pink flesh underneath with scabbed blood and dead skin covering half of the wound.
Having never dealt with something like this before, I wanted the clinic director, Andrew Schlabach, to come take a look. After giving a brief description I said, “I wonder if it is MRSA”, in which he responded with a good chuckle.
After coming to take a look, he told me I would have to clean it well with soap and water and get clean borders. So I brought her to the sink, scrubbed her finger for about 15 minutes with soapy water trying my best to clean out the blood and pus without hurting her. For a more deep clean, I used a long cotton swab to get under her dead skin and removed the pus that was hiding. Now that the finger was clean it was time to get clean borders. I was handed a sterile, surgical scissors and was told to find good light. So the patient and I sat on a bench in front of the clinic while I started to cut away her dead skin. Remember the skin that I said looked a little odd around her wound? Well, turns out it wasn’t attached to her flesh any longer. I couldn’t believe how much of her skin had been detached due to infection and would end up being removed.
After the removal of the dead skin, we made a poultice with Neosporin and some antibiotic herbs to put over the wound before wrapping it up and sending her home.
I look forward to seeing how she is doing when she comes in for a follow up. --Dean McNash