First week of Rotation – May 6, 2016

I’ve finished my first week working in Jamaica and all is well. My routine is Monday and Tuesday at Port Maria, Wednesday and Thursday at Port Annotto, and Friday at Port Antonio. The clinics/health services see a range of children from well infants to complicated medical issues for local followup. In addition, I made hospital teaching rounds on Wednesday with Dr Ramos and the junior officers (residents) at Annotto Bay, a real treat. There haven’t been any completely new problems so far, but a real mix of typical and atypical pediatric problems. My most “exotic” patient was a 7 year old otherwise healthy girl who had coughed up an nightcrawler sized (Ascaris lumbricodes) worm. Fortunately, I have seen this before (SE Asia, and Indiana…of all places) and treatment was easy. By the way, Mom said she also had seen these before!! Can you even imagine gagging up something like this????!! The beastie has a very complex life cycle and in this case matures in the lungs to be coughed up and out to start the next generation. Lesson: eat well cooked food and wear sandals!! The resort Issa Trust has put me up at is beautiful with wonderful food and services. Last year at this time I was working with Issa’s US partner (and my co-sponsor) Heart To Heart International on a disaster team in rural Nepal after the Kathmandu earthquake. We were living in tents with limited food and no reliable source of clean water amid ruins. The contrast is stark although when you get down to it, the basic paediatric health needs aren’t that dissimilar. Issa Trust is obviously very well respected among the Jamaicans I’ve worked with and those I’ve seen as patients. I’m very happy to be here and have the chance to work with this exceptional organisation!!
Gary Nichols

I'm a semi-retired paediatrician/sports medicine doc based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've worked as a volunteer doc in Haiti, Ghana, Nepal, and Bhutan over the last 6 years as well as serving as a sports medicine doc for high schools in Minnesota and major events such as the Olympics, Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, and many others. I love International Medicine and am very grateful to have the opportunity to work in Jamaican with Issa Trust and Heart to Heart Int'l. I have 2 wonderful sons and love hiking, mountaineering, sailing, skiing, and virtually any outdoor activity!!

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