Whether it be the treatment of patients, rare and tropical diseases or progressed pathologies, an overseas placement is both fascinating and a great learning environment where students are often exposed to things that they have only read about in the past. Although we have asked this question a couple of times we always get different answers.
James in Arusha examined a patient with a hepatonegaly larger than any that he had seen in Hong Kong. “Another close second would be a multiple casualty car accident that caused 9 deaths.”
Wesley told us “It is nice to have a chance to talk to Doctor Lee; an orthopedics surgeon from Korea who shared his volunteering experience in Arusha for 2 more years. The conversation is inspiring and provides me with the insight into future possible volunteering practice in developing countries.”
Emily attended surgical clinic this week where a woman presented with advanced breast cancer. “She had interesting signs with a large mass peak orange inverted nipple. This is rarely seen in England.”
While Sarah helped assist in the delivery of twins – “it was a difficult delivery, with one in breech position.”
Chloe continued to see a patient in casualty. “A special amounted today was a female patient with an abdominal protrusion at the umbilical area with overlying ulceration. It was a challenging case and several of us saw the patient together but none of us was sure about the nature of it.”
In Dar Es Salaam, Karen told us that “Dr. Alvin has been really good and instrumental in assisting us. He instructed and helped us in resetting and open fracture which was being fixed with a glove box. He allowed us to really get involved and feel part of the team.”
Charlene’s highlight was “seeing a baby with convulsions due to hypoglycemia and digested blood aspirated from the NG tube.” Rebecca noticed a huge difference in the practice of Obstetrics in Tanzania compared to the UK. “The mother was so brave as no pain relief was used.”
In Nepal, Samantha mentioned she did “not need to see another C-section for years now as I’ve seen enough here to last me a lifetime!” Yvonne agreed “C-sections…cut-out-over-next! And I was surprised at how many women suffer from uterus prolapse.”
Fanny was interested in how “a lot of people come to the hospital with heart valve disease. Also the presentation of diseases in a more critical stage was not too good to see but really fascinating.”
Aileen and Stacey noticed a lot of spinal injury patients and told us that “the supervisor and the staff have been so lovely; the supervisor has even made a list of things we want to see and makes sure he shows us and strikes it off his list once done!”
For Lisa in Argentina, her highlight has been the staff at the Dentistry Department. “They are all so nice, especially my supervisor. I’ve already started with hands-on work so my second week looks very promising!”
Chris also told us about his highlight: “There was a woman with a very complex pathology at Gen Med, who also had a broken spine. It was very interesting to see!” Davinder added “My highlight at the ENT Department has been all the new things I’ve learnt, since I didn’t know much before this placement and now I feel very confident to diagnose by myself. It is amazing how doctors here rely completely on their clinical experience; they don’t investigate the patients (no blood tests, etc). Simply by examining patients with a torch they can say what’s wrong”
And finally for Beth, her highlight in the Obstetrics Department has been being able to follow up the first minutes of a newborn’s life. “I got to follow a baby from the C-section to the time when doctors identify him by putting his cute little footprints on a document.”
All of our staff overseas and the supervisors we work with speak English but we also provide weekly language lessons to help students get around locally. Next week the question for the students is “How are you finding the language lessons? Are you getting to practise much around town?” We’ll see you back here next week for the answers!