Thursday, February 6, 2014

First World Medicine in 3rd World Conditions

Peach tree flowers.

From a US trained medical perspective it takes some getting used to in these working conditions: poor lighting, dull instruments, bad ergonomics, modifying dressings and being creative with medicinal products obtained locally.  This is good in that it takes us from our comfort zone an pushes us to learn "poor man's medicine".

Tucson wound care specialist/physician, Scott "Mateo" Bolhack and his staff have been very generous since my seeking them out for good/unused wound care supplies 4 years ago. They are always interested in hearing about my working in Chiapas and after seeing photojournalist Janet Jarman's video in the  New York Times piece, the timing is right for Mateo's first visit.

Mateo works on one of Sergio's most challenging cases.
He arrived on Tuesday morning (red-eye) and that evening we threw him right in to the fire. I prepared him as much as possible about the conditions and he's adjusted well, although it has been physically uncomfortable for him with the knealing, bending and contorting himself to work on patients that sit on small wooden chairs.  And, like our patients during their wound dressing changes, he does not complain.

 Sergio gives Mateo all the difficult patients then quietly watches him work, learning new techniques and proper use of branded products. Many supplies that have been donated are good quality but Sergio and I are not sure of which wounds would benefit most. Mateo patiently explains how we can maximize these products. He has also brought supplies donated by companies that are interested in his coming to work here. We hope his being here will help improve what Don Sergio already does and knows so well.

Wound care team.

From Don Sergio, we learn from watching his quiet ways, his compassion and persistence in providing care and his not getting frustrated with a few non-compliant patients. Most importantly,  we are learning Sergio's own "poor man's medicine"

While watching a fireworks display at church, this 5 year-old was severely burned by a stray fireworks rocket. Sergio visits him daily to change his bandages. The child tells his parents he does not want to go to church anymore.

Posted by Patricia Ferrer, PA-C

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