SAF medical team sees more than 200 patients in 2 days

The SAF medical team stationed at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu, apply plaster-of-paris on Mr Tirtha Lal Shrestha, a 31-year-old labourer who injured his wrist during the 7.8 magnitude
The SAF medical team stationed at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu, apply plaster-of-paris on Mr Tirtha Lal Shrestha, a 31-year-old labourer who injured his wrist during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
Major (Dr) Kok Wai Leong cleans Mr Lal Bahadur Bayarkoti's ankle injury at the SAF mobile clinic at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
Major (Dr) Kok Wai Leong cleans Mr Lal Bahadur Bayarkoti's ankle injury at the SAF mobile clinic at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
Mr Lal Bahadur Bayarkoti, 32, being treated by a SAF medic for an old ankle injury that worsened when he fell at home during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
Mr Lal Bahadur Bayarkoti, 32, being treated by a SAF medic for an old ankle injury that worsened when he fell at home during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
The SAF mobile clinic at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It has been running since April 30, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
The SAF mobile clinic at the courtyard of a 1,500-year-old Hindu temple in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It has been running since April 30, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG 
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Major (Dr) Kok Wai Leong inspecting 10-year-old Pramod Rai, who complained of pains in his stomach. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Major (Dr) Kok Wai Leong inspecting 10-year-old Pramod Rai, who complained of pains in his stomach. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team at a mobile clinic in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team at a mobile clinic in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team at a mobile clinic in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
The Singapore Armed Forces medical team at a mobile clinic in Gokarna. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Step by arduous step, Mr Lal Bahadur Bayarkoti made his way on crutches to the 1,500-year-old Gokarna Mahadev temple, passing under the Singapore flag that flies above the entrance, on Friday.

Like many others, Mr Bayarkoti had heard that a medical team from Singapore has been treating patients with all manner of ailments at a mobile clinic in Gokarna, a town on the outskirts of Kathmandu, since Thursday.

The 32-year-old needed to see a doctor for an old ankle injury that worsened when he fell at home during last Saturday's earthquake.

He hobbled into the temple courtyard, where a 15-man Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical team, consisting of five doctors and 10 medics, was working.

"I was at home when the earthquake happened, and I couldn't run because of my foot," said Mr Bayarkoti, who is unemployed. "I fell down and my leg became more painful."

Major (Dr) Kok Wai Leong, 31, one of the clinic's doctors, prescribed painkillers for the injury, while a medic, also from the SAF, helped to clean and dress the injury.

Besides being able to tend to external injuries, the medical team has been treating fractures, as well as open and infected wounds. They also have resuscitation equipment and can evacuate any severely injured individuals who need more help.

"We've seen a variety of patients, from the very young to the very old," said Major (Dr) Jonathan Lim.

"We've seen a lot of patients with diarrhoea: it's common for patients like that who, after an earthquake, develop secondary diseases because of poor sanitation."

Another Gokarna local who was hurt in the earthquake is Mr Tirtha Lal Shrestha, a 38-year-old labourer. He was at a construction site when tremors first hit.

Mr Shrestha said he lost his balance during the tremors, fell backwards and hurt his wrist.

"The patient has tenderness in his tendons and difficulty flexing his wrist," said Major (Dr) Zhang Junren, 31.

Maj Zhang applied a plaster-of-Paris cast around his right forearm, and sent the man home to rest.

"Besides putting a plaster to rest his wrist and prescribing painkillers, we are sending him for an X-ray at a local hospital," said Maj Zhang.

The SAF team currently has enough supplies to see about 500 patients, and have so far seen more than 200 patients.

"We are in constant contact with our colleagues in Singapore, who are prepared to resupply us based on our needs," said Lieutenant-Colonel (Dr) Adrian Tan, commander of the SAF medical team in Nepal.

"We are prepared to stay here as long as we are able to contribute in a significant and meaningful manner."

yanliang@sph.com.sg