UT medical students face a swamped triage
By Megan Gray
Thomonde, HAITI-Waking up to roosters crowing and strong fresh Haitian Blue coffee, we gathered medications we had packed the night before to begin our second full day with Project Medishare. Yesterday, we toured sections of Thomonde with the agents de santé, who introduced us to individual families within the community and gave us a sense of the lifestyle of Thomonde.
Today, we first caravaned to the nearby Akamil Nutrition Facility, which is still under construction but plans to provide a nutritious weaning food to combat the malnutrition that commonly occurs in the transition from breastfeeding to solid foods. We then drove to a nearby school, empty for Christmas vacation, to set up a mobile health clinic. We divided ourselves into a medicine room, ob-gyn room, pediatric room, and a triage room, trying to maintain a decent number of translators and medical personnel for the patients at each station.
Triage was initially swamped with patients, but became much smoother after we found our rhythm. The first patient to arrive at the medicine station was also our sickest, presenting with fever, headaches, lower back pain, diarrhea, and nausea over the past three days. We suspected typho-malaria and treated her with empiric therapy but kept her in the medicine room to follow up on her second dose of chloroquine and to ensure her condition did not deteriorate.
Predominantly, adult patients had gastritis and vision problems, including pterygium and glaucoma. We made a note for future trips to ensure to bring enough sunglasses and eyeglasses down with us, as patients really appreciated the glasses they received.