Mobile medical clinic in the central plateau
By Jennifer Kim & Monica Vohra
Pareidon, HAITI–Today we journeyed down the bumpy road to Pareidon, a village in close proximity to Casse. After the hour and a half ride, we got to the town church and set up our four clinics: pediatrics, adult, obstetrics, and vision. Many eager eyes were awaiting our arrival. Throughout the day each clinic saw a variety of diseases.
Ivorie Stanley (first year MPH student) and Lattisha Rowe (first year medical student) test for iron deficiency. Photo by Jennifer Kim.
In the pediatric clinic, a 5-month-old baby was brought in and was suspected to have both whooping cough and tuberculosis. The baby continuously coughed during the examination. The mother said that the father had been coughing and loosing weight recently. During physical examination, the baby’s skin turgor was not optimal and the baby had a fever. Unfortunately, we did not have a test to confirm TB but we were able to refer the baby to the hospital in Casse for confirmation and treatment.
Dione Occeanad (first year medical student) translating for Rick Spurlock (ER physician) during adult patient consultation. Photo by Jennifer Kim.
Most of the patients that visited the adult clinic complained of a “hot” heart. After examination we noted that heartburn is very common in the Haitian community. It was treated with cimetidine and amoxicillin. Later that evening during our debriefing the Haitian Medishare physician confirmed that most heartburn is caused by H. Pylori.
Several pregnant women visited the OB clinic eager to make sure they were having a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, in one case we had a patient who had miscarried. There was no doubt the patient was overwhelmed with grief upon hearing the physician’s diagnosis. One of the students was able to console her and it was that simple gesture that gave her the strength to accept what she had heard. This particular experience was touching because it really showed us that our presence makes a difference.
Patients were referred to the eye clinic for further examination to address visual acuity and other concerns. It was interesting to see that most of the patients did not exhibit issues of myopia and several suffered from itchy and burning eyes. In one specific case, a 3-year-old child had an eccentric pupil that was not responsive to light. Interestingly this usually presents as a congenital defect, however the mother indicated that the child developed it one year ago. The patient was referred to the local hospital for further examination.
*Jennifer Kim and Monica Vohra are both first year students at Morehouse School of Medicine