Mercer On Mission

"Experience is not what happens to a person...Experience is what a person DOES with what happens to him/her"

No Hablo Ingles

Our trip so far in Honduras has been nothing short of an adventure. Today we arrived to the community of Guanacaste. As we walked through the crowd of smiling Hondurans who had been eagerly awaiting our arrival since 5:00 AM, I was reminded once again just how blessed we are to have the honor attending a medical mission trip such as this one. It is now our second week of the trip and our last day of clinic is tomorrow. Each day in clinic I become much more confident in my abilities as a student physician. Although I have yet to figure out why almost every single patient laughs at me when I say to them, "Me llamo Charlotte". Maybe it's my southern accent. 

Throughout this entire trip every patient that I have seen has been over the top grateful for everything we have done for them. It is humbling, to say the least, to have people so thankful for something we "North Americans" keep stocked in our medicine cabinets. When we have a headache we go to the cabinet and pop an ibuprofen or two. No big deal. We don't even think twice about the fact that there are so many people in this world who are willing to stand in line for hours just to get ibuprofen for their headaches or arthritic pain from years of manual labor. One patient I saw today came in with acute chest pain and shortness of breath. We had to rule out acute myocardial infarction with nothing but to go by but clinical symptoms. In America the first thing we do is run tests. Show up to the ER with chest pain...immediate ECG and blood draw to check for elevated troponins. We obviously had none of these luxuries that we are all so used to having in the U.S. Relying solely on clinical presentation instead of lab results was a great way to challenge our medical knowledge and a great learning experience as a medical student. Of course we had our amazing MD's guiding us to make sure we didn't miss anything. Thankfully we confidently ruled out an MI. 
Mercer On Mission has reminded me of why I decided to go to medical school in the first place. As a third year medical student, it is easy to get lost in the chaos of clinical rotations, Step 2 studying, and the stress of landing the perfect away rotation and forget why you are going through all of these years of schooling to begin with. I chose medicine because I genuinely want to help people and that is what we are getting to do here in Honduras. I am very thankful for all of the people of Honduras, for their culture, and for their gracious hospitality. It has been a joy to work with so many amazing people. 

Charlotte Smith, MSIII

Add a Comment

(Enter the numbers shown in the above image)