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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our First Week
Well, we just finished  the first of our two week volunteer rotation here in Jamaica and it has been interesting,
educational, fun and at times tiring. Really, though, it has turned out much better than we could have hoped.
On the medical side, all of the clinics are a little different. Port Maria, where I spent Monday and Tuesday, was the most Spartan in
terms of facilities. Monday started off poorly when I was waiting in the lobby for a ride and after multiple phone call discovered no one knew I was to get picked up.
Dr Ramos interceded and put me in touch with the hospital administrator who then sent a driver. Even though I arrived about an hour and a half late, I was able to see all the
patients and leave at a reasonable hour. I met several of the hospital docs who were all friendly and happy to have me. They asked me to make an educational presentation next week, and I agreed
to give a talk next Monday on asthma, a subject I am quite familiar having championed it from my time at Kaiser -Permanente. I asked them to bring up a case on Tuesday as a spring board for a discussing of fluids and electrolytes.
Wednesday,  I was  in Annotto Bay on their Pediatric Unit. There Dr Ramos spent about three hours in a most didactic fashion reviewing with the residents the cases on the ward. There was a new nephrotic/nephritic,
a child with recurrent seizures and a baby with hypoglycemia among others. He is a great teacher and the process stirred memories of years ago when I was a resident physician. The next day, I was in the outpatient seeing children who had been recently discharged, either as newborns or with some other medical problem. The facilities were an improvement on Port Maria in that I had a real table to put my things and a
chair with wheels to sit in with an adjoining bathroom.
Friday I went to Port Antonio, a two hour drive. I was picked up by the hospital administrator, Patrick Campbell. We had a delightful conversation that spanned such topics and the economy, lifestyle and religion of Jamaica as contrasted to the USA. The time of the drive went by quickly and I was pleased that I did not suffer any car sickness like others had warned me about. In Port Antonio I saw a few children who were referred from local health centers for such conditions as poor growth, recurrent chest pain, etc. I had some free time and went to the A&E( their ER) and saw a few children with minor problems.
I will have to admit, staying here at the Couples Resort is a real treat. I am taking piano lessons at home and have been able to access the piano at the resort for some practicing every morning before going to work. When I return from work, on almost every day, I have taken a tennis lesson with the local pro. He is a wonderful teacher and was formerly #2 player in Jamaica. The food is great and there are activities every evening, though we tend to turn in early to be able to get enough rest to be prepared for the next day. Today, Saturday, Martha and I were off together and we went on a guided nature walk of the property and then a snorkeling trip to a local reef. It definitely has made us appreciate the beauty in the natural setting we find ourselves.
Now onto week #2 and we will see what new adventures we well encounter.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dr.Richards for the post.I used to work at Pediatric department,Annottobay hospital and i really miss the ward,my colleagues and the teaching sessions of Dr.Ramos. Hope you will enjoy the trip and we really appreciate your effort for taking your time in serving the children of St.Mary.