Reflection on the Mission from a Medical Resident

From Dr. Jolene Low, Family + ER Medicine Resident from University of Toronto based out of North York General Hospital and Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

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India.. Wow! Back to the reality of life..

It was a great mission, great team, and a very generous host, Dr. Champaneria, along with his family and staff. I almost did not want to leave to go back to Toronto! We had so much to see and learn as residents.

Pathology during screening days were endless.

Not to mention the excitement we get when we realized what the syndrome was! It was good to see for ourselves rare pathology that we read about in textbooks, are no mere pictures but first-hand experience through our patients in Hansot.

The best part for me about being in pediatric screening was, the opportunity to lay hands on every child that walked into Kaka-Ba Hospital for the mission.

There were many a times getting surgery was the least of the patient’s problems amongst their other larger health issues. For example, our 5 year old girl weighing only 7.8kg who came into the room carried in the arms of her mother. The girl looked pale as paper, legs the size of twigs but with edematous feet, tachypnic, appearing to be in heart failure. She had a medium size posterior cleft palate, but this was least of her problem. She had a ginormous heart silhouette that occupied 90% of the chest x-ray and a hemoglobin of 28. She was definitely not a candidate for surgery.  I was glad that even though surgery was not an option for her, we were able to arrange for a transfer to a larger center for more intensive pediatric care.

Being in screening also meant I was able to see even the non-surgical consults such as cerebral palsy, developmental and speech/language issues etc.

More importantly, I learned the differences between resources that may be readily available to us in Canada and how to adapt and utilize local resources in a different setting.

I was able to appreciate the cultural differences, know their stories and see our patients as a family unit not just as an individual. Over the 2 weeks in Hansot, I’ve bonded and made friendships with our little patients and their families. There were even several difficult good byes especially when Krisha’s dad and mom said something that really warmed my heart: “You miss Krisha. Krisha miss you too.”

I cannot describe how invaluable these experiences were for me as a resident and an individual. Thank you ORC for having me!”