As a physician I have learned that we lose so much in the hustle of the modern day clinic. In order to deliver optimal wellness we must be aware and empathetic to the immutable values, vulnerabilities, and often overseen intricacies that make up the persona of our patients.
For my very last week of med school!! Whoohoo I thought I would check out the Behavioral Health unit in the hospital. Palau has one of the highest rates of schizophrenia in the world toping out at somewhere around 2-2.5 people/100, and has been the focus of several international behavioral health studies trying to figure out why. The behavioral health unit is kind of an isolated wing alone on the north side of the building. Ward 5 as it’s known as consists of a central office, a small nursing station, a females only room with 3 beds, along with a male room with 3 beds. There are also three other “isolation rooms”, that are the exact same as a concrete prison cell, bars and all. In the isolation rooms they sleep on a wood platform with no mattress. I can’t understand how this would be productive to someone’s state of mind. However, that was the worst part of Ward 5. Read more
Many of the clinics on the remote Islands were built within the last decade or so. Much of the disease they have seen within this time has been what you would expect, a steady diet of hypertension, diabetes, coughs and colds. But just imagine if these clinics were older, much older. What if these tiny clinics had been around for 100 years? What kind of stories would the walls tell? If I could choose to be a fly on the wall in such a clinic it would be in Peleliu during September of 1944. Read more
Once again I arrived at the hospital on Monday morning with no plan for the week. In a way I’m glad there isn’t a structure otherwise I might be forced to be in surgery, or something awful like Pap smears. Read more
At the start of this week there was very little direction with concern to what I was actually supposed to be doing. Not terribly wanting to commit to one service for the week and risk being bored to death by a small uneventful patient load or being trapped in an OR, I headed over to the clinic where I could more or less pick and choose what I wanted to do. Read more
After an exciting weekend of diving V and I made our way to our first day at the Belau national hospital. After riding our bikes through the rain we met up with our contact Dr. D who is the hospital administrator. He gave us a blitz tour of the hospital in between his ensemble of morning meetings. There is a brand new minister of health, and new president, so there is a lot of power realignment going on. The hospital is pretty basic, its only one floor. Read more