Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dr. Mateo's Experience

February 12, 2014

Tucson wound care physician Scott "Mateo" Bolhack has returned from his first 'working vacation' in Chiapas.  I asked for his comments and observations of his experience....I believe this may be a bit different from his private practice in the US.

There are no appointments.

The patients come in and wait on the bench patiently.

No one complains if they are waiting and no one complains how long they may have to wait.

No one says that they are in pain. No one complains of pain.  They thank you with a kiss -- your right cheek to right cheek or handshake – always.

They are given their leftover supplies and they return the next day with the supplies for you to use.

They hold the flashlight for you.

Sometimes, the waiting families and patients who are waiting to see you hold a flashlight also.

Don Sergio's Tenejapa black saints placed behind the green waiting benches.

There are no barriers to care: no insurance, no phone calls, no confirming coverage, no appointments to make, appointments to cancel.

This is Sergio's office. You ask him for for 'permiso' to take care of a patient or he directs you to do so, so that the patient knows that he has approved.

The kind man with neuropathy/heal wound due to an electrical injury 20 years ago comes in. He was offered an amputation by the local doctors. Don Sergio says no [amputation] ”not necessary".

I have now worked on this man's foot every day since I have been here and every night his family comes with him. He waits patiently to be seen.

Much better;"mucho mejor" I tell him.

He comes with his wife, who wears a traditional dress. His boy, age 4, looks directly over my shoulder each evening. So small in stature, he looks like a two-year-old.

He never cries, he never winces, stares intently analyzing what I am doing. He is my little inspector.

Last evening, I held this hand and walked him over to the supply room. I handed him a soccer ball that was as large as his entire torso. Before his parents could instruct, he says open "muchas gracias".

Nadia, my special interpreter told me that the wife asked if I eat homemade tamales. More handshakes; the patient will return on Monday for further care.
Iglesia de Guadalupe.

 This is a city filled with cultural humor.


It is a city of neon Guadalupe Saints, Negro Jesus Christos, and water trucks that announce themselves by playing Burt Bacharach's "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" (in a city where very little English is spoken). 

It is the same city in which the mannequins displaying woman jeans are turned so that you can see the buttocks.  

The Chamulas, a native Mayan population punish their prisoners sometimes by making them spiritual leaders in the community.

Chamula community leaders, photo taken 2009.

Our only accessible pain meds, although you can buy Tramadol OTC.

And so for the elderly gentleman who fractured his femur was sent home without a brace, he cannot be treated with any opiate pain medications. So that in the country drug wars and drug lords, it is very difficult to order any opiate medications for any patient in pain.

Written by Scott Bolhack, MD, posted by Patricia Ferrer, PA-C.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

How do I get a hold of Don Sergio Castro? I would love to visit him and spend a few days learning.