Health Care Public Health

Day 3: Teachers and Partners

An AdventHealth nurse with a patient

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We are seeing great partnerships evolve between our doctors, residents and medical student interpreters in El Salvador this week. Today we set up the clinic in a school, the Complejo Educativo Profesor Reynaldo Padilla, a grade school in San Luis la Herradura, and saw 403 patients throughout the day.

We have four residents from the Health residency programs with us on the trip: Dr. Renata Kukla Schmidt and Dr. Kelley Dilliard from the Family Medicine Residency Program at Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale; Dr. Royal McKenna from the Family Medicine Residency Program at Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange; and Dr. Jesu Joseph from the Family Medicine Residency Program at Health Resurrection Medical Center Chicago.

Each day, the residents are working with our medical providers, and then those residents are working with the medical interpreters from the university. In fact, the dean of the university came to tour our clinic. It’s been very helpful to have skilled medical interpreters and they have been grateful to learn from U.S. doctors.

Sonia, the little girl who had a seizure at our clinic the day before, came to the clinic today with her mother. She was keeping up the schedule of Tylenol and Motrin as directed and appeared as perky as ever. She was in and out within 30 minutes — most of that time was spent taking pictures and thanking the providers.

Our pharmacy team stays busy all day because every single person who comes to the clinic ends up at the pharmacy. Even if they are not prescribed any medications, they still receive vitamins and toiletries such as toothpaste and toothbrushes.

On this day, the hot pharmacy room was swarmed by bees. Pharmacist CC Hsu got stung, but she continued to fill the orders that were coming through. Tommy Manion had an idea to place pop cans outside the window on a ledge, and that worked to move the bees outside.

We had a friendly competition today between the providers and residents to see who could treat the most patients. There was a two-way tie for the residents between McKenna and Joseph (33 patients) — and pediatrician Mary Lewis knocked it out of the park with 78 patients seen.

Today, the local doctor who handles all our follow-up cases, Dr. Mirna Martinez, spent the day shadowing McKenna in the family medicine area. McKenna explained his medical decision-making and demonstrated different procedures so that Martinez could learn about them. Though she has been a physician for this community for some time now, her education is not as extensive as our residents have had back home. McKenna showed her how to do a knee injection — our resident is teaching the attending physician!

“I knew I could help some of the people here, but the biggest impact I could make would be to help Dr. Martinez learn more, so she could continue to help many more people after we leave,” McKenna said. “She was very engaged and was asking a lot of good questions.”

Michele Winiarz has been working double- and triple-duty on whatever specialty the team needs. She joined our team as a physical therapist, but she also is a physician assistant, so today she functioned as a provider for pediatrics and family medicine, as well as an OB-GYN for ultrasounds and exams and physical therapy. She goes anywhere the patient volume dictates.

“I love it. I’m having so much fun,” Winiarz said. “I can’t even put it into words, but it really puts things into perspective. The things we take for granted and the care that we don’t take advantage of in the States, here people are lining up and waiting for it all day. I’m just so grateful to have this opportunity. It’s really reinforcing the reasons I got into healthcare.”

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