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cropped2

OR scrubs hanging out to dry.

This hospital is an orthopedic/rehabilitation hospital. It has 120 beds; about half the rooms (including the OR) have AC, the other rooms are hot and sticky. The entire hospital is open to the outside (the only closed off areas are the patient’s rooms), perhaps built with the purpose of establishing a breeze through the hallways. Most rooms have about 10-20 patients in them. Patients come from very far away and sometimes spend months at the hospital, which is why there are clotheslines all over the place (people literally live at the hospital for long enough to require doing their laundry). 90% of the patients are here due to motorbike accidents (head injuries, broken bones, severed nerves, etc.), 10% from fist fights. There is also a small PT/speech therapy unit that works with children, mostly who have cerebral palsy and/or autism.

It’s a different world here.  Standards, protocols, people; it’s not what we’re used to in America.  I couldn’t tell you where the nearest bathroom was.  I didn’t see sinks or soap available for patients or healthcare workers to regularly wash hands.  Sterile procedures were questionable and privacy was non-existent.  The interesting thing about it was in this world, all those differences are OK.  The patients would rather have something, even if to us it’s sub-par, because the alternative is nothing (which probably means they will die).

As far as staff, the nurses were a little standoffish and not welcoming.  Many of the doctors, however, wanted to include you in things (quite the opposite than at home, right?)  However, what they wanted more than anything else was to learn English.  Forget me teaching them the proper way to change a dressing or how we give medicine back home.  They wanted language classes!  It’s something to consider when you’re volunteering abroad and going there with a purpose in mind.  You may find that what people really need from you is something you never considered bringing in the first place.

Exactly how it looks in many rooms (although the patients I saw where much dirtier than these people and had no shirts on)

What most rooms looked like.  In my hospital, the patients were mainly shirtless, however, and much more “beat up” looking.  You would be too in such hot weather with an open head wound!

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