Robert M. Wachter recently joined the Global Health Core on a trip to Haiti to experience first-hand the Core's efforts to provide quality care across borders. Dr. Wachter is Professor and Associate Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“Medicine is universal.”
This is a phrase that Dr. Pierre, one of my Haitian colleagues here in Hinche, uses frequently. What he means is that medical conditions and the treatments they require do not actually differ between a low resource setting like central Haiti and a hospital like University of California, San Francisco. Of course, some diagnoses here (malaria, leptospirosis, cholera) are rarely encountered on the wards of American hospitals. In addition, we must remember that illness is often shaped by political, social, and economic inequities. But the fundamentals of disease are the same; the human body doesn’t know that it was born across the border. (more…)
We have just arrived on the internal medicine ward at St Therese Hospital in Hinche, a regional district hospital in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Despite its position as a district level hospital, the ward has few resources for diagnosis or treatment, and the resources it does have may be available only intermittently. And yet into this environment come patients with severe illness, often at late stages of presentation. (more…)