Today was the first day of clinic. After spending yesterday afternoon setting up all our rooms and supplies, everyone was ready to go today. The community welcomed us with a band and an announcer, they were so fun and receptive, it was wonderful. Then we set out for our respective rotations for the day. I was assigned in the morning to pediatrics. The first patient was a two year old who has previously undiagnosed cerebral palsy. It was slightly disheartening not to be able to provide more than vitamins and Tylenol for the girl, but her mother was so thankful for us to be seeing her that it made our experience much better. The morning continued this way, seeing interesting pathology we never would see in the States interspersed with cases we see every day like ear infections and coughs. The last patient I saw before lunch was a two year old girl who had never seen a doctor before who came in just because we were here. All her hair was falling out, she couldn’t run, and she was the size of an eleven month old, all because she was malnourished. The best we could do was to give her tons of vitamins and emphasize that she needs to eat, but her mother was doing the best she could with the resources she had. It served as a reminder as to how lucky we are to be living in a place where wealth and health disparity is much less prevalent. Days like today are why we went into medicine, and I couldn’t feel more grateful to have the opportunity to help and learn in this community.
Trying to make a difference – Natalie Blum