By Vivian Lei
As I reflect back on my month in Guyana, there are many things I will miss upon returning to the US:
The patients. Each person I looked after in the A&E was extremely patient, tolerant, and grateful for their care despite my initial inefficiencies and unfamiliarity with their culture. One gentleman on whom I’d done a complex ear laceration repair was happy to return almost every day for a week to allow me to track the progress of his wound healing. In a specialty that emphasizes brief patient encounters, I have learned to cherish the extra time spent listening and learning from my patients.
The A&E. I have enormous appreciation for the staff, nurses, residents, and attendings I met during my time in Guyana. In a short time, they have welcomed me into their emergency department, helped sharpen my clinical skills, and become a second family far from home. What’s more, there are actually some elements of Guyanese health care that I wish for after returning home, such as universal health care and access to primary care. There were many times I could send a patient from the A&E directly to a specialty clinic the same day. I prescribed medications knowing that patients could fill them for free from the hospital pharmacy. Time and again, I was shown ways in which low resource did not equate to low quality care.
Boulanger Choka. It’s delicious when eaten with puri. Or just with your bare hands.
Guyana. The country is absolutely beautiful with one of the largest unspoiled rainforests in South America as well as an amazing amount of biodiversity. In my month here, I have barely scratched the surface. I suppose that means I will need to start planning my trip back soon.
One thing I won’t miss…mosquitos.