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Archive for the ‘University of Miami 0609’ Category

100_2000

By Jennifer Browning

After spending a week with Project Medishare’s staff in Thomonde, Haiti, the medical students from the University of Miami are making their way back to the United States today.

A few of their photos have been posted up on Project Medishare’s Flickr site. Check them out here.

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100_2029

By Elizabeth Greig

CENTRAL PLATEAU, Haiti–The suggestions for preventative health measures available to Americans in this week’s time would probably get a few confused looks and laughs from the people of the Central Plateau. A quote highlighted in bold reads, “Ideally, I want you to be sweaty for an hour every day.” Haitians, I assure you, have met and exceeded this recommendation for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

If sweating is an effective way to prevent heart disease, then it could be extrapolated that Project Medishare’s mobile clinics have been practicing preventative healthcare and saving thousands of lives not counting any other medical intervention people may have received there. I myself expect to live well into my hundreds based off the hours of sweating I chalked up this week alone. And yet, the people of the Central Plateau press the limits of one’s sphygmonometer, so much so that it is the overwhelming topic of clinical discussion at the end of the day.

There is, however, something comforting about writing your 70th prescription of HCTZ in a day. For one, it’s just like home! Of the limited amount of drugs I can write by memory in a set of orders, this is one of them. At home, hypertension too is a disease of poverty. People aren’t washing their HCTZ down at Jackson Memorial Hospital with a few chicken nuggets because of a Louis XIV complex, but at least hypertension is an opportunity. At least you’re given the chance to live a safe enough life to advance to hypertension. A luxury? A luxury only with the lowest standards……but an advance nonetheless.

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100_2037

By Drew Martowski

CENTRAL PLATEAU, Haiti–The prior two days of mobile health clinics have taken place in schoolhouses. The simple reason for this seems to be that they are the only completed buildings other than churches that can afford adequate space and shade to serve the numbers of people that our presence attracts. The infrastructure available to those in the central plateau is minimal at best. Schoolhouses do exist, yet tuition is prohibitively expensive for most children. Second, people come from all over the surrounding area seeking basic healthcare because for many, traveling to the permanent clinics is a long journey and this makes it difficult for those to obtain regular health care. Both factors are the result of extreme poverty.

In Haiti, one is constantly reminded of the poverty. The muddy dirt roads demand the use of four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles (their necessity makes the word “sport” seem ironic). Many children sit naked beside the road or pump water from wells into dirty, old, plastic containers. Yesterday at the pediatrics station, the majority of the children were clearly malnourished. We were frequently struck by the disparity between their apparent and actual ages. Today at the prenatal station, many if not most of the mothers appeared clearly anemic and in danger of complications upon delivery. I could go on.

There is however, one incredibly important aspect of my experience in Haiti, which has stopped surprising me, but which still amazes me. The attitude of the Haitian population is wonderful. Everyone here is so pleasant and always laughing with us and smiling at us. In spite of such abject poverty, the people thrive in spirit and culture. They appreciate our presence so much that I often find myself forgetting where I am when trying to treat and connect with a patient. It is readily apparent that the Haitian people here want so much to better the lives of the people in their community, and we’re doing our best to help one patient or family at a time with their health needs. However, real progress in Haiti will take a concerted effort, like that of the Integrated Community Development Program in Marmont. While we can treat patients for serious and minor illnesses, these are just a few of the symptoms of the disease of severe poverty which afflicts so many here.

Drew Martowski is a medical student at the University of Miami.

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By Ronine Zamor

CENTRAL PLATEAU, Haiti–I saw this patient during my first visit to Haiti six months ago. Back then, she was a 10 year-old girl who couldn’t walk and had terrible bumps all over her skin. No one could figure out what the problem was so she was taken to the hospital. They gave her medication and took a biopsy. The diagnosis still has not been found but thoughts are racing from ectopic dermatitis to Histiocytosis X to just a terrible allergic reaction. Although we have not found the problem, our standard of care continued to increase for this patient. She had been making tremendous progress. They checked up on her a couple months ago and she was up walking and talking like a normal child.

100_1996As we were sitting down after a morning full of home visits, the same girl came up to us. Her skin lesions had gotten worse and she could not elongate her arms. All the physicians and students gathered around to determine our plan of action. It was clear that we had no idea what was infecting her, but we knew what we could do to help her symptoms. I bathed her in order to wash all of the dirt she had on her so that we could exam her better. While taking a bath, all she could do was smile. I gave her a towel and brought her to the doctor. Her skin was a lot clearer. I applied cream on her and we told her to come back everyday we are here so that we could bathe her and give her medication. She smiled and walked away.

As she left, I realized what I just did for that little girl. Although I could not tell her what she was suffering from, I alleviated the pain she was experiencing. Physicians often say that even though you may not know what is wrong with the patient, they just want to know that you sincerely care for them. It proves that even though we may never know what this little girl has, it is what we can do for her that makes a difference in these people’s lives.

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100_2042

By Jennifer Browning

Continuing their strong partnership with Project Medishare and their committment to the people in Haiti’s Central Plateau, students and doctors from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are traveling back to Haiti today.

During their trip, the team will travel and work with Project Medishare’s Haitian medical staff as they conduct mobile clinics and home visits in the surrounding area.

Stay tuned to the Project Medishare Blog for updates regarding their medical trip.

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