A Day In Port Antonio

Yesterday we went to Port Antonio Hospital. This hospital was in Portland Parish, about a 2 hour drive through winding, hilly, jungle roads from our hotel. When we arrived (thanks to our very polite ride and hospital administrator, Mr. Campbell), we were warmly welcomed and put to work. We tried to start in the Peds ward, though the docs had already rounded for the day, so we went to the outpatient clinic.
In the Jamaica, Pediatrics is considered a subspecialty so we had a lot of patients that were referred to us from general practitioners. Again, we saw lots of rashes, URI’s, and scalp infections. We also saw two patients that we felt needed referral to ENT. One was a 2 year old male with language delay likely secondary to his tongue tie that was never corrected, and one 3 year old female with significant tonsillar hypertrophy and obstructive sleep apnea. Luckily (after a few phone calls and some very helpful nurses) we found out that there was an ENT clinic in Kingston at Bustamonte Children’s Hospital every Monday – in luck! We filled out referral forms and the parent’s seemed happy that something was hopefully going to be done.
After the Clinic and a quick lunch (we’re getting really good at making English Muffin sandwiches at the breakfast bar and stowing them), we went to the A&E to help out. We saw a mixture of patients, but a few stood out. We saw a 5 day old male that had some eye discharge, his eye looked fine and just had some drainage dried on his face. We thought this was maybe some lacrimal duct stenosis that was very normal, or maybe a very superficial infection, regardless our plan was some warm compresses and antibiotic eye drops. Though when we ran this by the attending doc, he said that he would admit this patient for 3 days of IV ceftriaxone, and erythromycin, tetracycline and neomycin eye drops. He could tell I looked surprised, and I said that that wasn’t standard practice in the states, and Ceftriaxone isn’t approved for a baby his age. At first he acknowledged my plan, but in the end he wanted to be “safe, rather than sorry” and admitted the patient. I was glad he entertained my input for a bit, but in the end it was his decision. Any thoughts about this from other docs that have been here and treated Opthalmia Neonatorum – they do get “eyes and thighs” in the deliver room.
Another patient we saw was a teenage girl with syncope, and after a good H&P we felt that this was orthostatic changes due to dehydration and she probably just needed some fluids. We told the nurse that we wanted to give her some fluids, and she handed me a glove (for a tourniquet) a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, and an IV cannula (one very different from the IV’s in the sates). Stephanie searched for a vein while i primed the tubes, and thankfully Stephanie got the IV in one try and we made it work! While this may seem like a small feat, we are so spoiled with our awesome nurses at Akron Children’s, we were both holding our breath!

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