Chau Doc, Vietnam - David Norton, pediatrician: Steven, the other pediatrician, and I visited the pediatric ward again today, and have arranged to have sort of an educational round table tomorrow. As I have an interest in infectious disease (ID) and vaccines, I mentioned to the pediatrician that we might discuss these topics, and he said he was very interested in treatment of infectious disease, but less in prevention, as he works in the treatment unit... wow, there are professional culture gaps I hadn't even considered! The pediatric ward is SO busy... 100 patients for 50 beds, and patients with such complicated diseases... meningitis, encephalitis, dengue fever, lots of dehydration and severe respiratory disease. It is so impressive how hard these physicians work, with so little resources... I hope the time they take with us tomorrow is fruitful for them-- I know we will learn from them...
This is such a welcoming town... everywhere in the hospital and on the streets people of all ages wave, say "hello" and beam smiles at us-- making a walk to work such a delight...
Cao Lanh, Vietnam - Sitting in his mother’s lap after his surgery, he reached for a cup and then motioned to Carla, the pediatrician, to fill it. He was very thirsty---or just working us---because for the next 15-20 minutes he would drink, turn to one of us in the PACU with his cup and want it filled. It really made us laugh.
This humorous boy give us a needed tension release after a slight scare in the morning. Earlier, a team member was pricked by a needle used on a young child. We pack HIV testing kits on every trip, just for such accidents. Following our HIV protocol, the pediatrician immediately tested the team member and patient; the results were negative. What could have been a very serious situation thankfully turned out to be benign.
Azogues, Ecuador - The pediatrician on this team is Dr. Joe Herbert. He has his medicines and equipment set up at a desk, where he put up a sign that says, ¨They call me Joe.¨
When children are screened the first day, they must see the surgeons, the anesthesiologists, and the pediatrician. Every specialty must clear the child for surgery. I had the pleasure of assisting Joe--if you can call it that, since I don´t know anything medical--while he was screening about half a dozen patients.
Joe has a quiet, gentle demeanor which quickly puts children--and everyone else--at ease, especially since he can also speak the language.
When children come to the recovery room, when they are awake enough, we typically bring in a parent to sit with them and comfort them. Joe is almost always there to answer their questions and explain post-operative care and medications, as he is doing in this photo. He also makes rounds on the ward every morning to check the progress of the children who had surgery the day before, and to do a last minute evaluation of those scheduled for surgery that day.
I accompanied Joe on these rounds the last two days, and I am very grateful that he has been so accommodating with me. He always takes the time to synopsize the exchange with the patient and family for me, since I don´t speak Spanish, and doesn´t seem to mind at all that I´m tagging along.
The pediatrician also doubles as the team physician, and if anyone gets sick, it would be Joe who would evaluate and treat the problem. So far we are very fortunate to all be healthy. Hopefully Joe´s services won´t be needed in this capacity at all on this trip.