Day 08 – Usher and Shaggy are in Jamaica!

A hearty breakfast every morning. A great cup of coffee. Amazing view. Yeah, I can get used to this.

I was eager to get to┬áPort Maria┬átoday so I could check in on the one-year-old boy we saw last week who had been scalded by boiling water. Stacy and I were worried about his pain management and the adequacy of monitoring such a young child’s fluid balance. I’m happy to report that he is doing much better. In fact, I couldn’t find him in his bed because he was out and playing around. He was scheduled to be discharged today. Dr. Fazul had followed our recommendations for pain management using morphine and he reports that the baby was very comfortable during the last week. He has been eating well, and his skin looks very healthy. His mother came and gave me a hug saying, “thank you for loving my child”. That’s it. That’s all the compensation I need.

Dr. Fazul and I rounded on another 8 patients. The pediatric ward here has the luxury of being split into three zones, so the four children admitted with gastroenteritis were physically separated from three newborns and another one-year-old girl who had been admitted two days ago with a burn eerily similar to the first boy’s burn. I learned an interesting tidbit of information when I asked if the babies were receiving expressed breastmilk and if the hospital provided mothers with breast pumps. Apparently, the mothers actually express their breast milk manually, using their hands (this is how). I didn’t know this was possible, and I’m happy to hear that it is, but a part of me wonders how many more mothers would provide expressed breast milk if they had the manual breast pumps that many US hospital provide free of charge to new mothers.

I saw five patients in the clinic after rounds: two were follow-ups for asthma, one was a well child visit for a month old newborn (yes, they do well child visits here), one was case of pretty bad tinea capitis that had failed management with shampoo that a private doctor had prescribed, and one was a child with occasional dizziness spells that I sent off for some tests and asked to follow-up next week.

I had a little time to speak with the folks at the registration and scheduling office. They are now offering parents who call for a pediatric appointment the choice of a Tuesday clinic (when Dr. Ramos is here) and a Friday clinic (when one of us will be here, hopefully regularly). They’ve integrated us, and I love it!

Before heading back to the resort one last time, Steve and I went to Scotchy’s, which has the reputation of being the absolute best place to have jerk bbq in Jamaica. I came here last week with Diane, Stacy, and Alex and I couldn’t bear to go home without pigging out again.

Today is my last day here and I’ll be happy to get back to my family. But I’ve had a tremendous experience here. Having a regular schedule, and actually filling in a gap in each clinic is very gratifying. Working with the hospitals rather than in parallel to them is beneficial to the long-term well-being of child care in Jamaica. I’ve gotten to know the pharmacists, the lab technicians, the attendants, and the other physicians and I feel that we are now a unified force. Great things are coming. We are learning new lessons every day, and the “orientation manual” that Stacy and Diane are writing is being updated on an almost daily basis. There will be kinks, but that’s the best way to learn and to improve. And being able to come home to the luxuries of a beautiful resort and rest in a great bed is nice icing on the cake.

This blog will be open to posts from the future physicians and nurses who take part in this mission. I’m looking forward to reading about others’ experience here. Thank you all for following my journey with me. The emails you sent me and the comments you posted were very inspiring.
  • What you have done for the children in Jamaica is amazing! Everyone deserves access to adequate health care, and the fact that you and Dr. Stacy McConkey have stepped up to the plate-and help make it happen is a blessing! Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to provide, not only health care, but love for the children and families of Jamaica. We look forward to many more stories of kindness, a way to make a difference in the lives of the children, and a partnership with the community! Thank you also goes out to Couples Resort in helping make this program a reality and to Global Healing!

  • Hey,Dr. Rabi!!! How are you doing my friend? Hope you are all good in company of your family.
    Again, I want to thank you for coming down here to assist us.
    By the way and just for the record (a correction)the little child with burns who you talk about above, he was admitted at Portantonio Hospital (you saw him there),not at Annotto Bay Hospital. But, anyway you were of great help for the boy and that’s what counts.
    …..manually expressed brestmilk….yes!!! ha!, ha!,ha!…well, my friend, ..that’s the way we do it here, that’s the way we have done it for years, and it might continue like that for years to come. Breast pumps are not readily available at jamaican hospitals and although they are available at some pharmacies, the cost might prove prohibited for many mothers. Fortunately for us, our nurses do an exellent job at instructing mothers on how to get the best out of their breasts, it also helps a lot the fact that jamaican mothers are practically always willing to breastfeed their babies.This is the reason why our nurses are so proud and are always reminding us that many of our maternities are certified as “baby friendly” according to UNICEF.
    But I have to agree ….if breast pumps were to be readily available in jamaican hospitals, then the brestmilk expressing process would be more effective and less time consuming.
    Dr. Rabi, thanks for your cooperation, it is well appreciated.

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