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Patient Stories from a day in a Riobamba Mobile Clinic
By Jake Kincaid
You never know what you are going to find when you roll up to a new community with a bus full of medical supplies for a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic. This photo essay shows a collection of patients and their stories from a particularly eventful day in a rural community outside of Riobamba, Ecuador.
MEDLIFE begins patient intake at a church. Most people here either work in agriculture, or work peeling garlic brought in from elsewhere to be sold in local markets. This occupation can produce a host of fungus infections on the skin, which was treated at the clinic.
The epileptic patient came in saying that her barbituate medication was no longer controlling her seizures. She had broken bones from falls during seizures in the past and her lips showed signs of damage from chewing during seizures.
She was only taking her medication some days once a day. It was determined her routine was not consistent enough to prevent the seizures, she was given more medication and told to take it twice per day every day, not only when she had seizures.
Patient came in complaining of back pain. She took a big fall down a flight of stairs 25 years ago. This probably caused the Lumbar Lordosis that was visible in her posture, and causing her pain.
She was given pain medication and taught some physical therapy excercises.
This man was brought in by his daughter because she was concerned he was taking too many barbituates, damaging his health and making him sedate. He had had an operation for cerebral edama, the build up of fluid in the brain, years earlier. After the surgery, he experienced severe pain in one side of his face which was neurological in origin. The barbituates were perscribed to alleviate the pain. He has since become addicted to the powerful narcotics. He was given other medication and his daughter was given instructions on how to ween him off the the excessive baribituate consumption.
Cecilia, a grade school teacher at the school where the clinic was held, brought in one of her students, Emiliy, because she knew Emily had been told she had a heart condition. Emily cannot participate in physical activity with the other kids at school.
Listening to her heart with the stethescope, a heart murmer could be heard. Emily has coronary heart disease, a birth defect of the heart that likely developed into a serious condition because of malnutrition. She was put into MEDLIFE patient followup care and will need to be taken to a specialist to find out what needs to be done.
This sick two month old was brought in by her mother with a peristant high fever.
After being examined by a doctor, it was determined she had an infection and was given Amoxicilin. Without access to antiobiotics, even a simply treated infection like this can become a serious threat to an infant’s life.
As the clinic wound down community members gathered around the sick infant and gave their support. The sense of community one can see here is part of what makes working in indigenous Andean communities so special.
As people began to leave, the volcanoe Tungurahua erupted outside.
Here, you can see the mushroom cloud above the volcano. Though the eruption was not serious nor close enough to seriously harm the town, people began wondering whether or not it would begin raining ash again and cover everything in soot as it had the week before. They hoped it would not.
This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.
University of Connecticut
It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.
University of Toronto
I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.
Maclay High School
The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.
Nova Southeastern University
This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.
College of Charleston
Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.
University of Central Florida
Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.
University of Toronto
One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city
Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa
Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.
I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.
Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.
University of Georgia
As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.