The Places You’ll Go, the Things You’ll See… Imaging in Other Countries
Rebecca is our guest blogger today, one of our many great employees who make DIC what it is, committed to service not only here but in areas of great need…
We are proud of Rebecca for what she brings to our patients here and for her commitment to sharing her knowledge and compassion with those in need around the world.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go (by Dr. Seuss)
“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose…”
This book was, and probably still is, a very popular graduation gift. As young adults, the path to the future is wide open and many times uncertain. I can say that I never imagined going to x-ray school then to ultrasound school in Kansas would lead me to Guatemala and Haiti to share that knowledge.
Luckily with time technology is catching up with the human need for quality healthcare. The generosity of the American Society of Radiologic Technology and Rad-Aid who sponsored our Haiti trip and the Emporia United Methodist Church who sponsored the Guatemala trip is greatly appreciated.
Diagnostic Imaging Centers is committed to: Dedication, Innovation, and Compassion. All three are brought to our local community, but we also can bring those attributes to people in need – even in other countries.
Dedication: Promoting patient care and safety. In Guatemala and Haiti, the maternal death rate during childbirth is high due to lack of knowledge of placenta location (placenta previa) or fetal position in the womb. I was able to help instruct a midwife to learn these critical skills with ultrasound imaging. The Guatemalan midwife told our group that we were helping bring her dream of quality heathcare to reality and advance them to a higher level of care. The dedication of many radiology personnel has helped form organizations for radiology medical missions. (For more information: www.odimguatemala.org)
Innovation: The progressive innovation of increasingly smaller and truly portable ultrasound machines has helped bring quality healthcare to the poverty stricken and remote areas of the world. But now the need is for trained professionals to teach the local doctors and potential students to use this equipment to the benefit of their patients.
Since the Haiti earthquake four years ago, most all healthcare supplies have been made available through donations. Medical schools are open, but education for critical support staff such as technologists is limited. At my location in Haiti, Hospital Bernard Mevs, there is a radiologic technologist school, but only one book to share among 6 students. There is not currently an ultrasound technologist school.
The Rad-Aid group I was with hopes to change that reality. During the week in Haiti, we were doing lectures and hands-on training for the 1st class of Haitian radiology residents in 8 years, surgeons, and a few medical students. A week is not enough time for proficiency, but with self motivated practice, internet capability to learn, donated textbooks (thanks to DIC‘s Dr. Linda Harrison), and hopefully future medical mission groups, we see a bright future for Haiti and other areas in need.
Compassion: Compassion, consideration for another person, and living a life of service for others helps me enjoy my job and helped motivate me to search out these medical missions.
In Haiti, I did an obstetrical ultrasound on a 38 yr. old woman that had been in a car wreck, had a head injury, and bilateral mandible fractures. She was 22 weeks pregnant at the time, and had never seen or knew about ultrasound before that day. Due to machine and bed position, she was unable to watch the monitor. And, unlike the USA, there was no picture printing or CD availability to provide her with images of her baby. So, I took screen pictures of the baby on my camera to show her.
Though she had some memory loss and confusion, she was able to recognize her baby’s face. The love that showed in her eyes and the smile on her face, I will never forget. In Guatemala, my translator and I were able to attend a home visit with the midwife of a new mom and her infant son. We brought her a gift for the baby and thanked her for allowing us to visit. She said she wanted to thank us for wanting to meet them and learn about their culture.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage everyone to get involved with a group that supports your passion and to take that leap of faith to broaden your horizons. It’s not always going to be easy and what you experience may not be easy to comprehend, but it will help make a better you and a better world. I never thought my love of ultrasound, travel and service could be brought together, but now I can’t imagine separating them.
Originally published 4/1/14 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.