Thoughts from an Alumni – Deb Plate
Little did we know how our lives would be changed as we boarded the bus to Nauta from Iquitos with the warm and friendly Amazon Promise team of interpreters, doctors and staff. For the next week we would be part of a close-knit team that had a true passion for the health and well-being of the Peruvian people.
Our group from the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center in Ohio was composed of three attendings, several residents and a family member. We have a very active Global Health Club in our program and this trip had been greatly anticipated and long in the making over the past several months.
Over four days, we saw 622 patients in the Amazon Basin area including two Amazon River villages – Amazonas and Santa Cruz and two community clinics in Nauta. There were several patients that were most memorable for our residents in training and attendings as we worked our way up the River. There were several home visits into remote areas around the villages that were necessary due to the patients being too weak to walk to the make-shift clinic stations we set up. We initiated IV fluids for dehydration to a bed-ridden elderly male before clinic and returned to the remote home to remove it once all the patients were seen in clinic. We had a surgical procedure on a large cyst on a woman’s back and gave at least two knee injections to patients who were struggling with arthritis in their knees who got effective relief after the injection. Our most common conditions that we recognized and treated included malnutrition, dehydration, diarrhea of many etiologies, parasitosis and various skin conditions. One of our young patients was a teenage girl who had significant, daily headaches in the village and she was in need of a good eye examination and glasses. Through Rosa’s guidance, we all arranged for her to ride in to Iquitos with us upon our return trip and see an ophthalmologist and have new glasses made and fitted with her new prescription! We were all thrilled to assist financially with this process knowing that a young girl’s life could be truly altered by this gesture! While in Iquitos, we had the opportunity to follow up with a patient in the hospital that had been diagnosed with orbital cancer in need of several blood transfusions. His family and friends had come from Nauta to donate blood and were in need of financial assistance to return home to Nauta. Our team helped to get them back to their home in Nauta.
We had an opportunity to tour the much needed Amazon Promise clinic locally in Iquitos that was currently surrounded by water due to the seasonal flooding. Families were swimming, bathing, and drinking in this water that we saw as a health hazard for these people.
What a memorable week it was and we look forward to returning each year to donate our time to improve the lives of these warm and gracious people of Peru. What a beautiful country with truly beautiful people!
A big thank you to Patty and her fabulous AP team who made us feel as if we were part of the AP family working side by side with their guidance and passion for helping their communities.
We plan to spread the word to many up north about the wonderful work being done under the direction of Patty with Amazon Promise and hope to promote more support through financial commitments and volunteerism.
Thank you for a wonderful experience that provided great perspective and reminded us all WHY we entered the field of medicine! The pink dolphins were amazing and we were so grateful to Jose for his time and hospitality! J