A clearer picture with global healthcare in mind
By Dr. Joyee Goswami
We are on day three of our five day trip to Haiti, and it’s been a crazy mix of emotions. As a pediatric hospitalist with an interest in global health and have been on a few global health trips in the past so I thought I’d be prepared for the amazing chaos that is Haiti. I have to say I grossly overestimated myself.
Before, when I traveled to countries doing global health work, I was very idealistic about how our work was changing the world. These days I find myself having more questions than answers. Am I disturbing the local infrastructure that already works for this society? How can I truly make a difference?
Ethical dilemmas plague my mind. If only I had this newer, better drug. If only I could run this lab test. If only, if only… This then leads me to wonder if am I truly wanting a more scientifically sound technique or instead if I am needing objective data for a personal sense comfort on patients with whom I have no follow-up.
I suppose all global health workers battle with their inner selves at some point or another and so it’s my turn. I only hope that I do more good than harm, that I can augment existing programs without disrupting the local culture and society, that I am able to make a difference.
Perhaps it is because my role has now changed from medical student or resident to attending that I feel a greater – the ultimate – responsibility to provide the best healthcare possible to my patients.
Haiti has already changed me. My perspective on global healthcare is clearer; understanding my role is unfolding. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and that is what I intend to do.