Our day started a little early yesterday. 4 am early.
After packing up our supplies, we took the 2-hour chicken truck ride to the Los Torreros community, our new clinic site for the day. We quickly set up our make-shift clinic in three-room community school where a line of women stood waiting. We knew the day would be busy, and as new patients contined to file in throughout the day, we were impressed to hear that we ended Satruday having seen 115 patients.
Due to the sheer volume of patients this year, out MS2/MS4 medical teams often split up to interview and perform exams separately. It was incredible to see how much all of the second years progressed in their clinical and presentation skills in just six days.
We also had a unique opportunity to provide family planning to a large percentage of our patients. All fourth year students learned how to place IUDs, and quickly turned around to teach 4 of the second years to place them in our last two clinic days. Our patient breakdown is shown below:
Total pts seen: 496
Pap smears performed: 300
IUDs placed: 12
Our group has experienced the full spectrum of emotions this clinical week. We have felt the sadness of delivering crushing, sometimes hopeless news. We have experienced the frustrations of not being able help every patient we encountered. And we have had flashes of anger over broken health care structures all too common around the world.
But we have also become hopeful. We have seen the power of modern medicine and experienced the importance of developing and sustaining relationships with the communities and patients we try to serve. Our mission as an organization is two-fold: to provide care and to train our students. The hope of our organization is to reach a point where our screenings and education alleviate the burden of delivering disastrous news. It's a hope we were reminded of every day.
Our next stop is Amapala, an island off the Pacific Coast where we will have a chance to decompress from a busy week as we await lab results. We will then hike back out to our communities to deliver resukts and counsel our patients on follow-up care. Stay tuned!