We are here!!!

So this is our first blog of the trip and Stephanie and I couldn’t of had a better first few days. I’ll admit the rain hasn’t been our favorite part but the country of Jamaica is so beautiful it makes up for it. I’ll start with our lodging which is too good to be true. Staying at the Couples Tower Isle Resort is amazing. It’s gorgeous, well-kept, and staff treats you like old friends. They all knew our names by the first evening and we were often referred to as “S&S” for Stephanie and Stevie. The food is plentiful and there is so much variety. The entertainment is full of flare and the music has tempted both of us to get up and make fools of ourselves after dinner every night. From crab racing to the steel band you won’t be bored.

Now to the reason were really here. The kiddos. Our first day of work was spent at Port Maria. Stephanie worked in a room off of the A&E (Accident & Emergency) and saw a good number of kids. She saw everything from ear infections, pneumonia, seborrheic dermatitis, and and chest pain. We should of brought an otoscope but they have one there and you can easily walk patients into the A&E to use it. I was in the clinic at Port Maria which was bustling with well child visits and vaccinations. I acted as the referring pediatrician and was sent any child with a medical complaint during their well check. I saw many URIs, pneumonia, eczema, tinea corporis, and even a septic hip which was referred for admission. They have basic lab work and radiology there which is wonderful because you can send a patient over and have them return with the image or results in real time. There are limitations especially with the pharmacy, for example they have no oral third generation cephalosporin but you can give IM Rocephin. Another challenge we faced was a common one in pediatrics, parental desires and concerns. For example, the child with the suspected septic hip had been see just 2 days prior and referred for hospitalization but the mom refused because she wasn’t allowed to stay. We resolved that concern by referring to St. Ann’s Hospital because parents can stay but the mom could not travel there until morning. Luckily we were able to give a dose of Rocephin along with a referral form stating everything we wanted done. The mothers in Jamaica are very attentive and great historians (which helps because you often can’t make out anything from the charts). They can tell you the exact age of their infant down to 8 months, 13 days. They can also list medications and dates of previous appointments with other physicians…all wonderfully helpful.

The second location we’ve visited is Annotto Bay Hospital which is located in a very rural area. We spent our first morning in their pediatric ward and they had 8 patients total, 2 being social cases (you don’t round on those). We saw a patient with epilepsy, one with nephrotic syndrome, and many premature babies. There was a great deal of teaching done on rounds by Dr. Ramos. We then went to their A&E that afternoon which is currently still undergoing revision after damage from Hurricane Sandy but is actively seeing patients. We walked into a physician treating an asthmatic who had already received 3 rescue salbutamol treatments and was still breathless. They were planning for steroids and admission just as we would in America. There were very few children that day so we were able to return to the resort where we participated in the spin class which kicked our butt! We followed the class by relaxing at the poolside grill and having cheeseburgers and delicious onion rings along with some Red Stripes. A little counterintuitive but hey…we’re in Jamaica, no problem man.

Today we returned to Annotto Bay for well child clinic. As we walked in there was a line of mothers and babies as far as we could see and we immediately got to work. We were able to share an exam room and bounce questions off of eachother which was great. As physicians you are constantly learning not only from your patients but your colleagues as well. Our number one goal with each newborn was to ensure adequate weight gain and I don’t think either of us saw any baby that had trouble with this. Jamaican mothers are dedicated to breast feeding and there’s little stigma to openly feeding in public. If the baby was healthy they did not have to follow up but they were reminded to take their infants to the health clinic at 6 weeks of age for their vaccines. We also saw many hospital follow ups and again the mothers were excellent historians in these cases. Our physical exam findings were sharpened today and we saw an infant with an ear tag and pit that we referred to receive an abdominal ultrasound looking for any renal abnormalities. We also saw a baby with ophthalmia neonatorum (aka bacterial conjunctivitis) that we treated with IM Rocephin, PO erythromycin and tetracycline eye ointment. We also saw a lot of umbilical hernias of varying sizes and spent a lot of time counseling moms about when they would resolve and signs of incarcerated bowel. We then finished up the day in the A&E and saw a child with 3 days of cough who one week ago was put under general anesthesia for circumcision. After a detailed history of no fever, URI symptoms, or history of asthma along with a benign physical exam we were left with possible post-extubation irritation of the larynx and treated him with a one time dose of decadron, like we would for croup back at home. We also saw a little boy with new onset enuresis and increased urinary frequency x 1 day who had a UTI. We did the urine dipstick ouselves after having him urinate in an old medicine container and then interpreted the results from colors on the urine dipstick. It was interesting. We also had to convert mmmol/L to mg/dL when interpreting his blood glucose. We left today as a transfer came in from Port Antonio which was a newborn with hypoxia who was grunting and retracting. History included meconium stained fluid, Apgars of 7 and 7, and SpO2 of 87% at 10 minutes. We would have loved to help admit the patient and wrote orders but they were already on their way to the ward. Our differential included TTNB (transient tachypnea of the newborn), meconium aspiration, congenital heart defect, or sepsis.

It’s raining here but were enjoying the inside of our resort and the wonderful food and beverages it provides. It’s been a great first few days and we can’t wait for more.

Tanless but happy 🙂 S&S

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *