Michael P

Medical Trip
November 23, 2008, 1:12 pm
Filed under: travel | Tags: , , ,

For the last week i’ve been in Northern Bangladesh working with a medical misison team.  We set up a clininc at the school that i visited way back in september.  We left on saturday at about 3 and made out way up to the town where we were going to be living for the week, Kurigram.  The accomidations were clean.  Pretty sparse rooms, but what do you expect for about 2 dollars a night!

medtrip7What’s missing from this bathroom?


Downtown Kurigram:


We had breakfast and dinner at the “hotel sheraton.”  It was decent.  One confusing this about it was that it’s not a hotel, it’s just a restaurant.


The first two days i worked in our pharmacy.  I helped organize all the pills, helped the doctors find stuff, and pre-packaged the most used pills into little baggies so they could easily give them to the patients.  I got to use one of those nifty pill counters that you always see on news segments on the pharmaceutical industry.


For the last two days i worked in our makeshift ICU.  There’s never been a medical team of any kind in this area, so hundreds if not thousands of people came to see us.   A lot of them had never seen a doctor before and came to get routine stuff looked at.  But there were also a bunch of really sick people.  We had two guys with typhoid fever that i worked with for the last two days.  I could kind of sympathize with how they were feeling because i had a bad reaction to my typhoid vaccine for the last 4 days i was in America.  I had a fever of 103 and couldnt’ really do anything.  I learned how to get blood pressure and do some simple lab tests.  I did a pregnancy test for a girl that had been trying to get pregnant for 5 years.  I say girl because she’s only 18.  I think it’s probably a good thing that it took her 5 years to get pregnant.  Women get married really young here, and especially in rural bangladesh.  I kind of broke the good news to her by say “bhalo” (good) then we had a 40k dollar GE ultrasound laptop so we could show the newly expecting couple the baby.


The orange drink the women have in the picture is our rehidration drink that we made for the typhoid guys.  Its lots of gatorade powder with a bunch of whey protein.  It smelled like a creamsicle.

One of the typhoid guys arrived by boat on a pallate, carried by his family and another was taken here on a rickshaw.  They had been sick for like 3 weeks.

medtrip17 Beside the good news of the typhoid guys getting better and girl getting pregnant, there were also a lot of hard things to watch.  A boy came to us during the 3rd day that had huge growths on both sides of his neck.  After doing some blood work we figured out that he had really advanced lymphoma and that there was nothing we could do.  I watched the father’s eyes as he was told that his son was going to die and there wasn’t anything we could do about it.  Being in Bangladesh can be pretty difficult in terms of the beggars and poverty, but i think this will stick with me more than that.  The look of fear and sadness on his face was unbearable.  His son will die a painful slow death because he will slowly suffocate from his airway closing.  He pleaded with is to take his some back to America, but his son wouldn’t have even survived if he had treatment in America.

Overall it was a good trip.  I like Dhaka, but i like rural Bangladesh even more.  It’s so beautiful and doesn’t have any nearly as much smog, trash, and honking.  And it was nice to do something besides teaching english and sitting around.


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