Lessons Learned in Peru

Lessons Learned in Peru

A 65 yo female presented to clinic with a past medical history of heart failure. She was aware of her diagnosis and was currently on medications to help treat her symptoms. Despite this, her symptoms were not being managed well.  So why do I bring this case up? While gathering a history, the patient mentioned how she had not been taking all of her medication. Her insurance only covered for her to get half of her medications. She was only taking one dose a day instead of two.

Medicine is powerful. I chose to pursue this field because of that. I have seen how the field of medicine has impacted not only my life, but the life of friends & family members. I have also seen how lack of access to care can result in negative outcomes. I have this inner desire to “save” every patient or help them as much as possible, its kind of what we learn in medical school. But that is not always the case. 

On that Tuesday in Chincha, Peru we had no way to further help this woman. As difficult as it is to combat barriers to healthcare in the states, imagine the difficulties in other countries. I felt useless and defeated. We literally had to tell this woman who came out to seek help that we had no way to help her. 

On a brighter note, we were able to help so many other people in Chincha, Peru who came out to the clinic during our time there. We saw appx 150 patients a day. Something as simple as performing a HEENT exam and letting the patient know “Todo esta bien”, everything is normal meant so much to them. 

The reaction patients had when they were given reading glasses and tried to read what once was a blurry sentence was priceless. I remember one women mentioned that she was very active in her church and they read a lot. She would strain her eyes so much that she would get migraines. These glasses, as simple as it may have been, improved her quality of life. 

I can continue to go on and on about the many positive patient interactions I had but one thing truly defines them all, I am very grateful to be studying this field. I am also grateful for the attending’s who continue to send the ladder back down and teach us (students) ways to become competent and compassionate doctors. 

I really enjoyed working with the internal medicine doctor so who knows if Peds will be the final route for me. No idea.

Well, that’s it for now. I along with my other 3 friends will be the trip leaders for next years SB global health trip. I am exicted to see where we go and the experiences we make there. Till then, I will be focusing some of my time volunteering to help improve local health equity in Gainesville, FL.

Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

As always, stay fabulous. 

Captured: Peru


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