Published: July 17th 2012July 17th 2012
For our last two weeks here, we get to experience clinics in Guayaquil, the more metropolitan city next to Duran. The best comparison I can make is that Duran (where we live) is like Camden and Guayaquil is like Philly. The two clinics we are visiting each day are called Hospital IESS and the Padre Damien House.
The Hospital IESS is a social security hospital, meaning that those that have social security (people who work with W2s and retired people, and their families) can be treated here. The hospital looks like it´s from a different world compared to the clinics we were working at in Duran. The hospital is big, with many specialists offices and it´s super clean. They have a lab onsite and X-Rays and CT scans, though they still have to send people elsewhere for MRIs.
The ER is small and they can´t keep anyone over night. In fact, it´s called a "Day Hospital" because they don´t have beds to keep anyone. In the ER there are 4 beds which are really close to each other, but at least have a curtain for privacy. The ER will treat anyone in an emergency, but if they don´t have social security they need to buy their medicines with cash, including IVs and supplies like needles and gauze. It´s still sub-par to many of the hospitals I have been in in the US, but it´s a lot better than the first 2 clinics. It amazes me how much they can do with so little though. In the US we´re trained to order tests and to use technology to diagnose and treat. In the US if you come in with stomach pain you will get a CT scan, here you will probably just get pain relievers...
The other clinic, The Padre Damien House is a clinic for people being treated for leprosy. Most of the people that live there are older (2 men are 93!), and most are cured but they were ostracized from their families and have no where to go. Many people are treated as outpatients here too. At the house we just hang out with the patients and provide some OMM for them. The woman make jewelry to sell to support the clinic and a few of the men make hammocks. They seem really happy to have us there, I think they just like new people to talk to. I learned how to make bracelets with one of the women yesterday.
We´ll be switching between these two clinics for the next two weeks. Tonight we´re going to "balioterapia" (dance therapy) with one of the women who works at the Padre Damien House. She was diagnosed with leprosy, cured, and now works there. She teaches the class. Let´s see if I can keep up with all the Latin woman there...