Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congrats Astrid!

Last Thursday I was invited to participate in Astrid's graduation ceremony. Astrid was our dental student here at the clinic from February through October. On Thursday she presented her thesis in front of a panel of professors and they decided to approve (it was already approved, this was really just a formality).

She is now an official dentist and oral surgeon. We enjoyed having Astrid work with is over this last year and look forward to receiving another student next year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fighting for Health

During our most recent team we had three amazing and dedicated doctors who spent their days seeing all sorts of patients-young and old, sick and mostly healthy. I was impressed with the concern and genuine care that went into the evaluation of each patient. Dr. Elise was particularly concerned about a little boy Manuel and his brother Edgar. Both are extremely underweight and small for their age, but Manuel also had severe anemia. We went to the local Health Center in San Antonio to discuss our options with Dr. Alan (the director). He was not available and we met instead with the nutritionist. She suggested that the best way to get him immediate care would be with a recommendation from Dr. Alan and go to the National Hospital. We made plans for me to return the following week with the mother and Manuel.

The next week Manuel's other came to the clinic, but left Manuel at home. I explained to her our concerns and the plan to get Manuel admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion ASAP. She was a bit unsure of the plan because she doesn't trust the National Hospital- a common opinion among people in the village because they are sometimes treated as inferior and it can be a very intimidating experience. I convinced her to go with me and talk with Dr. Alan - he has a way of convincing people. Dr. Alan explained the situation that  Manuel is in and the consequences further down the road. Finally the mother agreed to continue with the plan to admit Manuel for a blood transfusion.

The next day I met up with Manuel and his mom to bring them to the Health Center in Mazatenango. From there we were referred to the pediatric ER at the National Hospital. The doctor on duty sent us to outpatient care to be admitted. There we waited and waited to be seen. Suddenly the doctor we were waiting to see left! I asked one of the nurses what happened and he went into the room and looked for our paperwork. The doctor had written that we didn't show up! I was sitting right outside the door and never heard Manuel's name called. The nurse was a little upset with the doctor and brought us back to the ER and demanded the first doctor to admit us. So the ER nurses started doing the paperwork and getting Manuel in the hospital clothes (which he was very upset about, he did not want to stay at the hospital) After getting changed the next challenge was figuring out who would stay with him. His mother is breastfeeding a six month old baby brother, and his grandmother who was also with us had to go and sell in the market the next day. It was finally decided that Mom would stay overnight and another family member who is also breastfeeding her own child, would feed baby brother.
morning after
during blood transfusion

That afternoon Manuel received 1/2 liter of blood. At this hospital if you receive blood, then someone in your family or a friend has to go and donate blood to restock the blood bank. The nutritionist from San Antonio had volunteered and the next morning came and donated blood for Manuel.

It was a long exhausting day and I felt like I had to fight and speak up for Manuel because his mother didn't seem to fully understand his situation. Thanks to Dr. Elise who was the one to notice the problem and do something about it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Patrick's new temporary house

Patrick in front of his new place

Remember Patrick from Molea? He was on the blog after the hurricane took down the structure he was living in at the time. Today the construction team was able to make him a nice temporary tarp house, so that he doesn't have to sleep with friends anymore. Patrick is 20 and is trying to finish high school. Most of his family was killed in the earthquake in 2010. This tarp dwelling may not seem like much to the average American, and it is not at all a permanent solution for Patrick, but it is a solid next step for him. For now, he has a clean and dry place to stay.

Some of the medical team with Patrick (and local kids)
The medical team has done two mobile clinics -today and yesterday- in the same town where Patrick lives. The community is one of the most devastating places you will visit. It consists of hundreds of tarp houses and similar structures all built amidst a public dump. The people that live there would not live there if they had other options. Its a very heartbreaking town and the people there are very grateful when PID teams come and do mobile clinics. The people in the town were also pretty happy for Patrick - since they all seem to know his story and appreciate that he received some help.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Final Day in the Village

Five more stoves were installed tosay! That means five more families will no longer suffer the effects of smoke filling their kitchen and their lungs and stinging their eyes! That seems like a success to me!

More patients were seen at the clinic along with some follow-up from patients who came earlier in the week. All left happy and very grateful for the services we were able to provide.

Tomorrow the team will travel to Antigua and then spend the night in Guatemala City for their early flight on Sunday morning.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

More stoves and more patients!

Today the medical team was back seeing patients at the PID clinic. They did some well child checks along with sick patient visits.

Cara, our PT on the team, brought down a baby carrier in hopes of being able to help a mother whose daughter Dayana has cerebral palsy and can't walk or sit up on her own. Her mother carries her to her therapies each week and then each month travels with her by chicken bus to Guatemala City to see a specialist and receive medication.

The construction crew was able to install 4 new plancha stoves today to some very thankful families. The team members commented that they really felt like they were making a difference in the health of the families upon seeing their living conditions and where they were cooking in smoke-filled kitchens.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mobile Clinic to Barrios I

Yesterday and today the medical team traveled to the village of Barrios I and saw patients. They were a little slow in coming yesterday, but they saw around 50 patients.

Today when we arrived there were only a few women with their children and we got worried that it would be a slow day, but we ended with just over 100 patients seen by 4:45 pm. The doctors and nurses were exhausted, but happy to be able to provide their services for this village.

The construction team did a great job painting one of the houses in Desierto that was started in January.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Busy Mondy

The clinic today had a steady flow of patients with some unusual cases. This team has quite a few "regulars" who often travel with PID so there were many smiles and hugs between friends when we first arrived at the clinic.

The construction crew was able to build a concrete post for the electricity meter at a house in Saquiy during the morning. In the afternoon they attempted another post, but got rained out. Tomorrow is another day!