My Nonprofit Reviews

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Review for Child Family Health International, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 4 stars  

I think this is a good time to look back and reflect a bit on the hospital experience in some detail. It was amazing to be able to go to places and observe things that I’ve never had the opportunity to go or see before. Even though there were some slow days, overall I loved it.

So, this is how the overall month went. Each week we rotated to different hospitals or to different units within hospitals and tagged along with Doctors/Surgeons and Nurses. Some weeks we would go to multiple different locations. While in these rotations we would observe so much. We got to follow along in rounds, and occasionally even participate in the discussions, and we were able to observe almost all aspects of the state health care system. In my time in South Africa, I spent a week in King Edward’s Pediatrics Department as well as it’s Surgery Department. In surgery, I was able to observe some amazing procedures such as laparoscopic gall bladder removal and (in the trauma ward) the insertion of an intercostal tube into a stabbing victim. That was amazing!

I was also able to spend a full week at St.Mary’s Hospital, where I did rounds in the medical ward, pediatric inpatient ward, and pediatric outpatient ward. I also spent a considerable amount of time in the theater as well as the Antiretroviral (ARV) Clinic. The last week of my stay, I also had the opportunity to visit an orphanage (picture below) and go to the Malagasy clinic, which was a really great experience. At the clinic I got to see firsthand the first line of institutionalized healthcare; the place where basically everyone went previous to arriving to the hospitals. This time spent within the medical system of Durban was more amazing than anything else I’ve had the opportunity to do in my pursuit of medicine thus far. It was stunning to be able to interact with patients and physicians on such an intimate level (or as intimately as possible given the language barrier with many patients). One of the most interesting things for me was that, as an African-American, this is the first time I’ve ever truly just blended in. It seems like a minor thing, but it was strange to me to be surrounded by other black men and women everywhere. At hospitals where I’ve been before, I always stuck out like a sore thumb, but here, I was home. I truly loved it.

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Role:  Volunteer