With the support of the Spirit of 2010 award, I went to Pursat, Cambodia in collaboration with Stanford University and URC. My role was an educational one, I was responsible for beside teaching with the local doctors as well as creating lectures on basic scientific topics for future learning. The project was focused on education in order to create sustainable change to the current medical system. The most beneficial part was teaching the staff how to use a defibrillator. The defibrillator had been donated from Australia a few years back, however, no one was trained how to use it. Many people were scared if they touched the defibrillator, they would shock themselves; therefore, they didn't want to learn. After practice and demonstration however, they became much more comfortable with the machine.
In addition to my clinical duties, I had a little free time to take a long weekend to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat. In addition, I had an extended layover in Seoul, South Korea where I visited my cousins.
This elective took place at Hospitalito Atitlán, which is located in the town of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. This hospital serves approximately 75,000 indigenous Mayan Guatemalans who live along the beautiful Lake Atitlán. It is a clinical elective, with volunteers providing 24 hour solo coverage in the ED. The hospital also provides primary care, prenatal care, and labor and delivery services; last time I was there, they were expanding their capability to provide surgical obstetrics. It is a true emergency medicine elective: the breadth of cases included cardiac arrest, fracture reduction and splinting, deliveries, neonatal resuscitation, pediatric respiratory disease, etc. One of the best aspects of this hospital is that while serving an indigent community in need, the hospital also has the resources so that you as a clinician can provide a high level of care. You are challenged to work independently, without the supervision of an attending, and you must become more thoughtful about your work because the patients cannot afford for you to be wasteful.
Lastly, this hospital is located in a beautiful part of the country. The lakes is surrounded by volcanos, and on my days off I would take a boat across the lake, settle into a hammock, and read a good book while enjoying the most amazing view.