Week 2 done already!!

I can’t believe the time here is passing so rapidly!! My second week started with a challenging Monday at Port Maria. On arrival I became immediately involved with an asthmatic boy. He repsonded to treatment but as I was writing up his chart I heard faint labored stridor from the A&ED. Wandering over, I found it was a small 6 month old girl with significant croup…. croup you that may cause airway obstruction. !!!! Again, working with the local A&E doctors, racemic epinephrine eased the symptoms significantly. But with the baby’s age and presentation she was soon on her way to Annotto Bay for admission and more care than could be done at Port Maria. Off to a busy start! Unfortunately the day ended sadly with the stabbing death of a 15 year old boy. He was in an altercation with a classmate at his local high school and arrived dead…..in the back of a pickup truck trying to get him to care in time. He was still in his school uniform….. My experience so far here has been one of warm, caring, friendly people. Not just at the resort that I’m staying at, but with the staff in the A&ED (ER), the parents in my clinics, all the Jamaicans I’ve met. They’re very proud of their country, they’re very concerned about family, and they have gone out of their way to thank me for volunteering. I saw how shaken many were with this boy’s needless death and their concern for their own children. Violence is sadly present in both of our cultures. Perhaps by volunteering we can help, just a little, better lives both in Jamaica and at home.
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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