Today I went to the hospital in Annotto Bay. When I arrived I was greeted very kindly and escorted to the Pediatric Ward of the hospital. The 3 residents were there working. They seem particular about about which year they are (first year=intern, second year=resident, third year=house officer). As an intern I used to get mad when people made the distinction between me and a resident. Residents are residents but that has no point here.
Due to the impending storm (aka Tomas) most patients had been discharged. There were only 6 there today. 3 of them were Once rounds started Dr. Ramos did some teaching and we quickly noted some major differences in our practices. In the US we test every baby’s bilirubin before discharge. We also have a device that will test it without drawing blood (transcutaneous bilimeter). Here they have to stick an artery for blood! This may not sound like a big deal but when we draw blood at home we do what is called a heel stick. Basically we prick the heel and milk out blood. They don’t have equipment to measure capillary blood sample (which is what the heel stick is). They draw all their own blood samples and walk them to the lab!
During rounds we were called to the operating room (which they call the OT or operating theater) for a Csection delivery. I invited myself along. WOW this was different. In the US when a pediatric resident goes to a delivery they are accompanied by a respiratory therapist and a nurse (if it is an intern an upper level resident also goes). Just the intern went (and me)! She had to test all the equipment herself and actually wait at the foot of the bed to take the baby (they bring the baby to us). In the US we are obsessed with keeping the baby warm (put on the hat, use about 5 blankets because as soon as one is wet you throw it off the table, and the baby is not allowed off the warmer for more than a few seconds to get weighed). Now this being said we are in an air conditioned delivery room where there are people who like to turn the temp way down. Here we had 2 blankets and no hat. The first was used the entire time we resuscitated the baby and the second only when we took the baby out of the room (by the way no triple checking identification bracelets and getting footprints- we just took the baby out the door after saying loudly to the room- Baby girl X delivered at 11:48 am). We took the baby to the maternity ward where we took all of the measurements, wrote a note and left the baby with the nurse.
When we got back to the Pediatric ward rounds were over so we headed back to the maternity ward to discharge babies. Here they give the BCG shot (for tuberculosis) which we do not give in the US. They do not however give the hepatitis B vaccine that we give before discharge. Baby boys are not circumcised before leaving the hospital either (most are never done).
This was a long blog today so I am just going to stop babbling.
Take home point: a transcutaneous bilimeter would be awesome here!
Fun Jamaican fact of the day: if you were a car horn you would be very busy
One last random thing I have to tell you about because it blows my mind. They do not have school buses here. When school lets out the kids walk down the side of the road and random people pick them up and drive them down the street! This happens with everyone, not just school kids. People just pull over and pick you up if you are walking. People are just nice to each other. Nobody worries about kidnapping, rape, and all that. Crazy- but in an awesome way.

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