week 1 – welcome to Jamaica :)

Hello from Jamaica! It has been a wonderful first week and after getting settled in, we started our first day of clinic this Tuesday at Port Maria’s clinic and A&E department. We split up our time between the A&E and clinic but the ED was slow with not much pedi cases so we both ended up working the clinic which was busy with pedi patients. I ended up seeing 9 patients or so the first day and it was pretty busy in the morning! One difference I noticed was the lab is open in the morning for several hours and if you miss that window, you have to draw your own labs which we ended up having to do. A CBC is fast to run with results in 10 minutes, but we sent for coags which ended up being a send out and can take 3-4 days and cultures even longer. It makes you really think about whether you really need those labs and how to manage your patient given your clinical judgement knowing that it may take a while for labs to come back. I saw several gastroenteritis cases, a primary herpes gingivostomatitis, asthma exacerbations, and well checks. It all seemed similar to urgent care clinic that I see back in the States. In the beginning of the day, there was a long line outside of the clinic but by the afternoon we were able to finish seeing everyone.

The next day we went to Annoto Bay Health Center and participated in rounds on the ward. The set up had all the beds and cribs in one room with a mixture of pediatric ward, NICU, and well baby! I was really impressed by the rounding, the residents, and Dr. Ramos whose teaching was thorough and engaging. There were interesting cases from r/o sepsis, r/o ITP, RDS, IDM to discuss and it was basically sit down rounds. There is also a need for certain medical equipment including neonatal blood pressure cuffs which the physicians are working on getting and hopefully will come soon.

Today we had clinic at Annoto Bay Clinic and again saw a huge line of patients until everyone was seen. I saw a kid for a well check with a h/o rheumatic fever which is more prevalent here in Jamaica, as well as newborn well checks and urgent care visits. I did spend time making sure to give dental education for my patients during their well checks since there is not as much access to dentists here. It has so far been an amazing experience thus far and we have been so grateful for this opportunity!

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