For the month of June, I volunteered in the emergency hospital in the city of Cordoba, Argentina, through Child Family Health International (CFHI). El Hospital de Urgencias, as it is called in Spanish, receives over 90% of emergency cases in the city proper, with most of these cases being automobile or motorcycle accidents. During this month, I spent most of my time in the shock room and la guardia, which is the actual emergency room within the emergency hospital.
Most of my time spent in the hospital was observing procedures and asking questions. I was able to observe chest tube placements, lumbar punctures, a thoracocentesis, and multiple placings of central lines. However, I was also able to help discuss and diagnose patients from radiographs, as well as help clean wounds, perform sutures, and assist placing multiple central lines. I mostly shadowed attending physicians and residents from all four years of the emergency medicine residency in Argentina.
Also during this time, the Spanish classes I had for six to nine hours per week were very helpful in perfecting my speaking and comprehension skills. In addition to Spanish classes, there were also culture classes relating to Argentina such as the history of tango or common infectious diseases in Argentina that really enhanced the experience by highlighting the culture of the country.
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