Friday, February 7, 2014

Small Clinic, Big Heart

     The last 2 days of my placement this week were absolutely fantastic. I didn't get to do too much, and I didn't see any more cool surgery. But I got to do what I am happiest doing: work in a clinic helping the under-served. 
     The clinic is located in the same slum area where we set up the free clinic my first week after orientation.  Calling this building a clinic is a tad optimistic: it is a single room, with an alcove curtained off to hide an examination bed. The doctor was not particularly friendly but neither was he mean. This lack of speaking was mostly (if not all) due to the language barrier, so we communicated a lot through motions and single words.   The doctor let us take the blood pressure of all of the adult patients, and listen to the lungs of the patients that complained of a cough.  We were also able to give injections: Courtney gave one intravenously yesterday while I gave one intramuscularly today.  A woman came in today with a splitting nail, so he let us dress that as well.  The doctor had a certain procedure he followed with every patient: first he would see them and get some vitals, then he would write a prescription down on a small piece of paper for them to take across the road to the small pharmacy. The patient then brought back the required medication, the doctor crushed up vitamins and pills then separated the powder, then the patient paid and left.  We found out later from our driver that the doctor sees and treats patients for 20% of the typical charge! We discussed a lot about why he would do that; why would someone who has spent all that money going through medical training choose to come to a slum and make next to nothing. He may have a few shifts at a hospital elsewhere to make money, or family and a desire to help his community may have brought him back....but whatever the reason, he has gained my utmost respect.
     I am hoping to return here for the next few weeks and get some more hands on experience. Dr. Prabhat said I could because I loved it so much.  But I never know until I get in the car what the day will hold.

Much love,

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