Hello everybody back home! My name is Windom Shields and I am a Junior this year studying Spanish on a pre-Med track. We spent this week shadowing in el Hospital Militar (the Military Hospital) which provides free healthcare to Ecuadorian service members and their families, as well as relatively cheap care to the general public.
On Tuesday, my group and I observed in the Rehabilitation/Physical Therapy part of the hospital. The staff (who were fantastically welcoming and friendly) described the various maladies and recuperation a they were assisting with for the first 4 patients who came in for help. The care given was nearly identical to the college's own Training room in the Regent's Center, with electric stim and hot/cold pads applied. However, the fifth patient of the day was an elderly woman who was very happy to tell us about her visit herself, instead of letting the doctor do the talking. She came in due to her arthritis. Her first twenty minutes in the area were spent with warm wax coating her hands to help ease the joints. She then moved on to an ultrasound station, so as to break up some of the accumulated tissue in her wrist and finger joints. It was a nice experience conversing with her, as she asked us about our studies and our homes back in the States, as well as shared some stories of her own family here in Cuenca.
I was fortunate enough to spend two separate days in the Quirófano (Operating Room) this week, as Eli Klosterboer did not wish to see the blood of the OR. We swapped rotations and he took my place in the ER instead on Friday (unfortunately, he told me, it ended up being a bloody day in the ER for him anyways). On Tuesday, my group got to observe una reducción de fractura (the surgeon repaired a broken nose) due to its unsightliness and the fact that the crooked healing was impairing the patient's breathing. It was a great experience, with the surgeon going in through the center of the man's nose, re-breaking the bridge (with a small hammer and chisel, no less) and setting the bone back in its proper position. The whole procedure took about an hour. My second day in the Quirófano was another short procedure. This time the patient had broken his coccyx and it had also healed crookedly. It was a simple matter for the doctor to straighten the bone, and he was done in less than an hour. Both patients were disoriented upon waking, but the second man recovered quickly and was telling us jokes before we were on our way out.