Med Student Escapades: Giving Back
Guest blogger Geoff’s story has moved so many that I will be posting more of his journey through southeast Asia. This is a contingent of young men and women who consider helping others to be their calling. These are tomorrow’s doctors. I am proud of them! Without further ado, Geoff:
WAY too early wake up call
Jeepney (if a jeep and a school bus had a baby covered in Jesus paraphernalia) to the site. Long time, shoddy aircon.
Three sites/neighborhoods so far
Site one: Baseco
Partnered with students from the Filippino medical school in a tiny building we set up clinic taking care of ANY problem that came to us. Our patients were very poor and cannot afford to buy medicine or see a Filipino doctor. We rode a plywood “canoe” through garbage passing many industrial ships to a jetty with shacks. As we walked along the jetty through the community, we passed dirty and crowded “homes” that were perched off of the jetty. We came to a beach which was more garbage than sand and met a man who had sold his kidney for the equilvalat of $1,100. It was very strange to us but not uncommon in this community. For clinic that day we say almost 200 patients. It was exhausting, interesting, enlightening and hot. We all learned so much about ourselves as future physicians, friends, human beings and sweating Americans. Day two at Baseco we saw about 300 patients, with some interesting cases including heart murmers, CP, fungal infection, impatigo, lots of gross abcesses we got to pop and squeeze.
Day three and four were in Laguna, a community about 1 hour outside of Manila. We spent the first day in a VERY small building, setting up stations in two rooms and the pharmacy in the kitchen. In Lagnuna, there are 200,000 people per 5 hecacres. That’s pretty darn dense! Day one went well. We served 400 patients and it was crazy, hectic and there were many volunteers from the community.
Day two in Laguna (clinic day 4) was intersting and inspirational. We showed up to an empty courtyard in the blistering heat with one small canopy. The community came out and sheltered us with tarps and parasols. There were an incredible number of friendly and enthusiastic children who made us smile and challenged the tall guys to basketball competitions and puppet shows. Overall the experience was quite unique. We have been able to give out antibiotics for infections from our shanty pharmacy in the gambling room. Many of these people do not see a doctor due to cost and we have been able to see and treat many diseases at very advanced stages. Up till now we have seen over 1100 patients. Tomorrow we travel to another part of town to get back to work. For now know that we are all doing well and are excited about our work