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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Well it's time to start packing.  My time in Jamaica is drawing near to close.  Luckily I got to snorkel just once before the storm began 'again' today.  Tomorrow back in the air heading to Southern California where many things have been put on hold for two weeks ready to be attended to when I arrive.

Part of me is sad, I haven't been much help to the people here, or to the providers for that matter; though I saw as many children as I could, the parents and children still need more.  More time with the physicians to help them understand their child better, more accessible resources at low or no cost.  But I learned.  I learned people here still care about their patients and try to give them the best have and the best of themselves.  I learned that physicians use their own money at times to help patients get the interventions they need!

I learned that the Accident and Emergency department in Annotto Bay is expected to see more patients per day or they may have money taken away from them.  Which is hard to believe isn't it?  One of the last patients I happen to look in on who came into the A/E at Annotto Bay was a lady who had a previous Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, sent home, then told to follow up.  She didn't make it to her appt because she got a headache and began vomiting beforehand.  Her family brought her in as fast as they could, but she was unresponsive on arrival.  Wouldn't it be faster to have called an ambulance?  Nope, her daughter said that would have taken way too long.  As it was, Annotto Bay had to transfer this woman to Kingston because they can't even do a CT at Annotto Bay.  Talk about limitations.  Of course, what we take for granted in the US; 7 minutes response time for an emergency 911 call.  CTs and specialists to handle bleeding in the brain.  We would have the resources to possibly save this woman, but here she lives just too far away from the care she needed.  And then to have money taken from that system?  I hope those providers will be able to have a voice to help advocate for themselves and their hospital system.  I hope the people who understand the situation do too.  Ms. Meeks, thank you for all you do!

But overall, it was a good experience, I enjoyed seeing so many lovely newborns too.  Remember I told you they smile earlier than in the US?  You know what else?  It has been my experience in the US that babies allow a physician exam up to about 1 year and then they cry on exam because we are so invasive with tongue blades and etc.  But you know what?  I hardly had any 1 year olds cry with my exam, even with a tongue blade!  Simple things.  What is it?  The early socialization, the early care provided by many in the family or extended family?  I don't know, but it was a pleasant surprise that most children of all ages did not cry on my exam at all.  Maybe they were just taken aback by my very white skin! LOL! Whatever it was, it was such a pleasant thing to help in any tiny way to make some difference for just a day.

Many thanks to the physician team at Annotto Bay and Dr. Ramos.  Wish I could have been more helpful for you!  But I learned from you and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.  Thank you for all you do for your children!  You provide the best care even though you don't have all the fancy technology of an NICU!  Kids are resilient and they do well under your watchful eyes.

Take care all of you!   And to those at Issa Trust, my deepest appreciation for providing this lovely trip and experience!  Diane, my hat is off to you, thank you so much for all your advocacy efforts.  And Firas Rabi, thank you for all the work you have done with this blogI will look forward to working with you and Issa Trust in the future!

Traci Williams, MD

1 comment:

  1. Traci, thank you so much for taking time to volunteer to make a difference! You may feel like you made little impact, but trust me, your efforts helped tremendously! We hope you continue to share this program with your friends and associates, and return home to Jamaica! Soon come!
    Diane Pollard