Dr Eddie Carberry is a junior doctor at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Scotland. His involvement with Resurge Africa began in 2015 while he was working as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) on the Neuro-surgical ward at the Neurological Institute, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. It was there that he met Catherine Smith, the Senior Charge Nurse of the ward.
“Catherine was a Senior Charge Nurse who helped with simple tasks and bed bathing patients. She gained a lot of respect from her nursing colleagues for this. She was always very involved in the care of the patients just as much as her managerial duties.”
Eddie formed a working relationship with Catherine and learned about her connection to Resurge Africa in Makeni, Sierra Leone. She arranged for Eddie to accompany Claire Blacklock (a volunteer physician and chair of the African Hospital Libraries) to Makeni in 2015. On arrival, the country was in disarray because of the ongoing Ebola epidemic. There was a heavy military presence to enforce mandatory curfews. Eddie spent the next two weeks helping to inventory and catalogue educational materials at various hospital libraries that had become disorganized or gone missing throughout the chaotic Ebola response. He returned to Glasgow two weeks later.
A few months later, Eddie returned to Makeni for three months and began sorting and taking stock of the operating room (OR) equipment at Holy Spirit Hospital to restore them to function following Ebola. There was only one problem, Eddie had never been in an OR. Thankfully, Dr Jeff Downie, a consultant Maxillo-facial surgeon helped to orientate him to its layout and inner workings.
At that time, Eddie was also overseeing the construction of a new Resurge Africa building adjacent to Holy Spirit Hospital in Makeni. Eddie described himself as the go between the contractor for the building and Resurge Africa. Ultimately, the building was constructed without much issue.
Upon his return to Glasgow, the Resurge Africa team had acquired various hospital supplies including essential OR equipment, a washer/dryer, computers, and books which were stored in a warehouse. Packing this into a shipping container was a long day’s work for the Resurge team, Eddie, a group of friends, and a forklift truck. Eddie met the shipping container in Freetown, and while there were a few bumps and bribes along the way, managed to get it to its final destination where it was swiftly unpacked by a group of tenacious Sierra Leoneans.
Eddie helped outfit the ORs with the new equipment, as well as organize the new Resurge Africa building. On the main floor of the building was the washer/dryers, and on the top was the computer center and library. The new building served as an education hub for staff of Holy Spirit Hospital and Resurge Africa partners.
Talking about his first trip to Sierra Leone; Eddie and Claire would share a drink in the evening and discuss Eddie’s plans for the future. Eddie shared that he felt inspired to pursue medicine after seeing Claire’s passion and love for her profession.
Eddie later returned to Glasgow and enrolled in premed at Glasgow Kelvin College. Eddie credits his experience in Sierra Leone and as an HCA in Glasgow for his success in being accepted to the college. At college, Eddie’s academic advisors encouraged him to have a backup plan in case he was unsuccessful in pursuing medicine. However, Eddie was adamant that medicine was the only path for him and determined to succeed.
In 2017, Eddie was accepted to the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) at the University of Glasgow. This year, he graduated with distinction and begins his first job at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary. Over the next two years Eddie will gain valuable on the job training, and competence and confidence in practicing medicine. As of now, he is interested in paediatric intensive care and is considering specializing in this area of practice.
Eddie plans to return to Sierra Leone following his second year of medical training to continue contributing to the capacity building work being done at Resurge Africa and beyond.
At Resurge Africa, we are excited to see where Eddie’s future takes him, and proud of all he has accomplished. Congratulations Eddie!