2016, 4th Year Elective
"I wasn't sure what to expect as I entered the tucked away medical campus where I'd be doing my rotation; Y.R.G. Care HIV and AIDS Medical and Research Center was in the far corner of the Voluntary Health Services campus, a nonprofit hospital, to provide patients with privacy in an otherwise busy and open city. The ward, located on the ground floor, had several metal beds with flat, well-used mattresses that lined the perimeter. On the floor above were the outpatient offices, where I would be spending most of my time.
"It was clear very quickly that all the nurses and sisters spoke Telugu and Tamil and very little English. I reverted to Malayalam, my mother tongue, which is a similar dialect that I hoped would help them understand me. Over the course of my rotation, I came to rely heavily on the nurses, from pre-rounding with them to using their translational skills. They worked with the visiting obstetrician who performed high-risk procedures on HIV positive women and would inform me of upcoming procedures. I really appreciated the time and effort they took to give me a better, more varied experience.
"The morning rounds were always exciting. The physicians, social worker, nurses and I would round for several hours on the patients. We would get anywhere from seven to fourteen patients depending on the day. Majority of the patients had a symptom called altered sensorium. It was fascinating to see cases of crypotococcal meningitis, leptospirosis and hemorrhagic stroke, among others, that I had only read about before. The physicians took every opportunity to teach pathology, disease progression, medication regimen and physical examination findings that further expanded my understanding of each case.
"Overall, I had an amazing experience working at this institution because I was exposed to different cases while learning these rare pathologies. I also had the chance to see how the community is affected by this disease and how the work done in the hospital and in the neighborhood brings awareness to the disease."