The woman’s upper body was curved around one middle bed leg, her legs wedged around the opposite middle bed leg, her lower legs and feet protruding from under one side of the bed, her face from the other, staring up into a blank nothing, her mouth stretched wide, the desperate death-mask I am coming to recognise. She was still breathing but could not respond, even to moan.
Despite training in Brussels, briefing in Freetown and Bo and Kailahun, an ever-increasing pile of tales of misery, and my own past experience, I admit I was dumbfounded. I began to reach toward her and realised there was nothing, nothing to be done. I turned to Konneh stupidly and, bless him, even from within the depths of my PPE (personal protective equipment) and his, he had the compassion to say it to me in words – "We cannot do anything for her, Patricia." We could not move her, lift her – we could not even wrest her from under the bed. We had no proper equipment, we had limited time and energy; we had come for other tasks, the discharge of survivors.
To read more, visit blogs.msf.org/patricia