Stories from the mobile clinic: triage
By Maryam Hosseini
Today is Tuesday, the third day of our trip to Haiti with Emory Medishare. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to join this incredible group of doctors, students, nurses, and social workers in Thomonde, Haiti. While yesterday was spent working in a clinic in the town, today went a little differently. Today’s clinic was actually to be in a school, and because some of the roads had washed out in the rain from the previous day, the drivers took a different route. Once we finally got to the school, we were greeted by at least 100 people of all ages, lined up to see us. We were told that they had been waiting patiently for us since 6am that morning. I was assigned to triage, and since the school did not have enough room to accommodate us, we set up shop along a wall, under shaded trees. It was incredible to talk to the men and women outside, with their own land and their elements surrounding us. While many of the people who came to see us were complaining of stomach aches, as GERD (acid reflux) is a common illness in at least Thomonde, we noticed that many of our patients had red, inflamed eyes. The sun is brutal and constant in Haiti and it can actually scar the retinas of the people because there are no sunglasses readily available. Cataracts are very common, and you could actually see visible white scars in the eyes of many of the older men and women. Headaches seemed to also be a common complaint, and for many patients, something as simple as glasses would easily remedy them. While for the most part, many of our patients were overall healthy, there were definitely consistent complaints that spoke of issues that may be endemic to the area, specifically GERD and eye problems. When Melissa and I come back here in March with Morehouse, we hope to bring sunglasses and maybe even a variety of reading glasses so that we can effectively treat and possibly prevent at least a couple of these issues.