Blogs from Castries, Saint Lucia, Central America Caribbean

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Only 2 weeks left! I'm actually really looking forward to going home. 8 weeks is a long time. There haven't been that many exciting cases in the hospital this week, and no really exciting news. Friday the girls and I went to the Gros Islet street party, but we only really went there for the food. We had our lovely BBQ grilled fish, had some drinks on the beach, and then went home. Yesterday, we spent the day at Windjammers resort. I got even more tanned and swam a lot. There was a big inflatable trampoline in the sea, so I swam out to that and climbed on for a bit. Alex and Liv didn't want to because it was quite far out, quite deep and there was a lot of seaweed out there. It was ... read more
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So with carnival over, it was back to the hospital. It was pretty quiet, as I guess everyone was too busy with carnival to get sick. There was a sad case in the ICU though. A 29 year old man had a congenital heart problem, which gave him a heart attack at work. No one knows how long he was unconscious for before a work colleague found him on the floor. The colleagues called an ambulance, but they thought that they felt a pulse, so no one did any CPR until the paramedics arrived 20 minutes later. When he was brought to A&E they continued CPR for an hour before he came around. But now, he is a vegetable. Just 8 minutes without oxygen causes permanent brain damage, and he had over 20 minutes before any ... read more


So Monday and Tuesday this week were carnival. There have been, and still are lots of parties going on for carnival, but Monday and Tuesday were bank holidays and it was when the people got in their costumes and did the parade. There's not much to say, but I got a lot of photos. The costumes were pretty cool, although they are around £800 each for a bikini and feathers really. It was fun to watch and the crowds weren't too bad, so we got a really good view. Monday was really good, and that's where all the pictures are from. The whole thing was meant to start around 11am, but nothing happened until about 1pm. That's just St Lucia time. Tuesday wasn't as good. I think all the people must have been very tired or ... read more
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I've now finished week 5. Just 3 more weeks to go, it's definitely flying by. Haven't posted in a while because there hasn't been a lot. On Wednesday, it was the England football match, so the girls and I took a bus down to Rodney bay to meet the boys at the bar to watch it. I'm not sure if I've written much about the buses here. They are 15 or 16 seater minibuses. They come in all different colours, no logos or anything, drivers don't wear uniforms. You only know its a bus because it will usually have a green sticker in the front to say where it's going. There are bus stops, but you can flag the bus down anywhere, even on the highway, and it will stop for you. Same with getting off ... read more
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So I have started my placement on internal medicine now. There are a lot more patients and a wider variety of conditions, so it's been really interesting. This will probably just be a really long post about the most interesting things I've seen and learned in the last two days. I saw a man with elephantiasis. Both of his legs were extremely swollen and his skin was scaly with lots of nodules. He was in because his skin breaks down a lot and gets infected. If you do a google image search for 'elephantiasis' you'll see lots of examples of the swelling. if you google 'elephantiasis hyperkeratosis' you'll see how their skin can look as well. It's caused by a parasite, a type of worm, which I knew. But I didn't know the worm was transmitted ... read more


Exactly halfway through my time here now. I finished A&E yesterday. Nothing too dramatic happened in my last few days, although I did walk in to the ER on Thursday to see all the doctors doing CPR on someone. I waited for 10 minutes and then left, because it seemed a bit morbid after that. Otherwise, I got to see quite a few patients, mainly just sprains and vomiting and things you see in the UK. Next week I start internal medicine, and I'll be there for the rest of my time here. So yesterday, we went to buy some plants from sort of like a garden centre. But in St Lucia, they don't need greenhouses, so there's just a little forest off a main road that has hundreds of plants and you just pick what ... read more
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The last few weeks have flown by, and its odd to think that I'm almost halfway through my time here! A few extra things about the hospital, resources and having to pay for healthcare. I found out yesterday that the hospital doesn't have a CT scanner. This means that if you've had a stroke, or been in a car accident and you go to this hospital, you can't get the scan you need. There is a CT scanner at the private hospital nearby, so patients have to be transferred to there. Obviously in cases of a stroke or potential internal bleeding, getting the scan as fast as possible is really important, but these people might not get one in time if they don't go to the private hospital first. There was a paraplegic man in the ... read more
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Sunday July 1 - Terrible sleep. Still thinking about moving into a tent, but will see what happens when I get back from St. Lucia with Erika gone. I got up around 9am and of course can do nothing since everyone is asleep. They were all woken up to go somewhere for lunch with Erika before her flight in the evening. Once they left it was just me and the guys who work there until 2pm, or so I thought. Just after they left, we heard Lisa sprained her ankle and was coming back. Fortunately, she wasn't on the other side of the river yet. I finished packing and at 1:30pm Ben helped me get my things and myself across the river. I still find it difficult and a little scary to cross, holding the line, ... read more
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Today the other girls and I went to Windjammers resort again. There were no jellyfish in the sea this time, so I got to swim in the sea and the pool. The sea had lots of fish in it. The water is clear enough for you to see them, but it would have been really cool to have a snorkel. There are fish around here that will eat the dead skin on your feet just like at the foot spas. Unfortunately it did rain on us a couple of times. The first time it really poured down, so we had to take cover in the bar for half an hour until the sun came back out. We used the time to have fish tacos for lunch and some cocktails though, so it wasn't all bad. Whenever ... read more
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Just a quick one to talk about a patient that came in the ambulance today. A man had been working in his garage this morning when a disgruntled ex-employee came and attacked him with a machete. He had a really deep cut to his arm which was almost to the bone (it had gone through all the skin and fat layers), and a cut to his cheek which went almost the whole way through, and a couple of other superficial ones. He was ok, but going into shock so needed fluids, and all the wounds needed stitches. He was a bit out of it, but the fluids helped bring him around again. Shock makes me people a little illogical though, as he refused to let the doctor clean his wound because it hurt too much, but ... read more




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