2016, 4th year elective
"I didn't know what to make of my expectations for my clinical rotation in southern Guatemala. I knew that we would be working in rural clinics, which would likely mean a poor, significantly underserved population, but it was still nothing like I have seen in the US.
"I rotated through five clinics—one for each day of the week—with a team consisting of one doctor, one nurse, a community educator and another visiting Drexel student. Each clinic would have a queue of people waiting when we got there. The number averaged around 20, but it was as high as 50-80 on rare occasions. People walked from a few miles away to come to the clinic for problems such as coughs and viral infections, prenatal visits, pediatric sick visits, lacerations, and more. These clinics were their only reasonable resource for medical care. It was definitely a different way of practicing medicine, and the patients were different from anything I have seen before. An elderly man in his 70s who walked two miles to come to the clinic and waited almost three hours to tell us about his knee and back pain was thrilled with just a prescription for generic ibuprofen. Mothers bringing their children in with coughs would be happy with a simple recipe for a cough remedy containing water, honey and lemon. It is a different and seemingly simpler way of practicing medicine.
"Coming from the US and knowing about the number of options we have, I was astonished at how they are able to do so much with so little. It was truly a great experience, and one that I think I would like to continue to take part in as my career progresses as a way to refresh and reinvigorate myself."