Thursday, April 15, 2010

Primary Medical Care at Terrain Acra

(Photos - Top: Dr. Michael Rhodes seeing patients in a clinic exam room.. Middle: is the Terrain Acra clinic Bottom: the Terrain Acra Clinic's registration tent.)

Hello, I’m Kristi Trostel, a physician volunteer serving three weeks with ARC in the Terrain Acra camp this month.

At this writing, the medical clinic in the Terrain Acra camp is staffed by three volunteer physicians from Minnesota and four Haitian physicians employed by ARC. The Minnesota volunteers are Dr. Michael Rhodes, a Hospitalist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Dr. Jessica Daily, a Family Practitioner with Allina medical clinic, and me, Dr. Kristi Trostel, an Internist at Park Nicollet Clinic.

We three Minnesotans start our day at 7 am with our excellent driver Durillma ferrying us through the busy Port-au-Prince traffic. Lasting about an hour, the drive lays bare the widespread poverty and destruction from which the city suffers. However, we also see the people resuming their daily lives and the beginnings of repair and reconstruction.

Once at the clinic, a busy day awaits us.

Patients of all ages await their turn in our clinic. We’re treating ailments stemming from privation and overcrowding in a tropical climate, as well as those afflicted with problems that we may see in the US. The clinic is a large tent with partitions creating five small examination rooms. At the back of the tent the formidable Madame Philibare, a Haitian nurse, manages the small pharmacy and clinic staff. An additional tent sits adjacent and houses the registration area, wound clinic, and urgent care area.

Together with the four Haitian doctors and the aid of our Creole interpreters, we see 140 to 170 patients in clinic each day. Patients are seen free of charge, and we can offer a number of medications and treatments without any cost to patients. We also offer a mobile clinic in the neighborhood around the camp and home visits within the camp, which we'll describe in future blog entries.

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