Honduras 2013: Clinical (the interprofessional experience)

Osteopathic medical student Brian Sullivan was a member of Des Moines University’s largest and most interprofessional global health service team to date: More than 35 individuals – including students from five DMU programs and Drake University’s pharmacy program as well as faculty, clinicians and a social worker – spent March 16-24 providing health care, education and information to hundreds of under-served people in Honduras. It was DMU’s second service trip to the Central American nation, organized in partnership with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. 

Day 4: 

Clinic ran more efficiently the second day. We were able to see a variety of diseases. We rotated personnel so medical students were working with pharm and vice versa. Each clinician was extremely enthusiastic and passionate about the health of the Honduran people and educating students. Osteopathic students were performing Podiatric procedures and pharmacology students were assisting with diagnosis and prescription in consultation. The interprofessional experience was exceptional. Many of the first year D.O. students had a new-found respect for pharmacology. Learning about PPI drugs that help with epigastria pain, Lansoprazole and when to use different drugs for various infections bacitracin and Cephalexin.

Physicians would see entire families at a single time. Some students would assist with physical exam and also diagnosing. Some of the most prevalent disorders were: hypertension, diabetes, anemia, asthma, headaches, fungal infections, urinary tract infections and dehydration.  We saw patients with pterygium, observed herpangina and were able to listen to a heart murmur in a 5-year-old boy.  In the U.S., this child would be sent to the cardiologist and a have multiple tests performed.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in Honduras because his condition didn’t have any physical manifestations. The Honduran physician said not much would be done due to lack of money and urgency. 

To assess diabetes, our lab would perform blood glucose tests. The lab would also perform urinalysis for kidney infection.

That evening when we finished eating there was an aguacero.  Aguacero is rainstorm in Spanish. It rained pretty heavily for about 30 minutes. The roofs were made of metal and were screaming at the rain.  We had some students running around in the downpour. After it died down we played card games.


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