A Medical Student’s Perspective

I am so grateful to God for the time I got to spend at the Dadeldhura hospital this summer. As a US medical student, I got to return to the country I grew up in and learned from lots of people in the Dadeldhura hospital.

There are staff devotions every morning before work, and after these I would go on rounds on the general or OB wards with Dr. Doug, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Jeremy, or Dr. Ajit. They taught me about diseases that are rare in the States like malaria, rheumatic heart disease, fingers warped by gout, and leprosy.

After rounds I spent time learning from Lindy (a nurse practitioner) in the antenatal care clinic or with Bed, Ganesh or Prem (some of the midlevel providers) in the ER. It was so much fun to get to participate in dressing wounds, learning to stitch, or draining abscesses; although the first abscess I drained which was on a young girl’s temple shot straight into my face!

Most afternoons I spent with Dr. Sharma in surgery because this is something that interests me in the future. In my time there, Dr. Sharma did many appendectomies, cholecystectomies, hemorrhoid removals, and hernia repairs. I so much enjoyed learning from him and was such a privilege to get so much practice in assisting in surgery.

Learning about the diseases was interesting, and it was also fun interacting with the patients. There is a young man who is staying long-term at the hospital because he has cerebral palsy and open wounds from leprotic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by leprosy). Every day he came into the ER room to get his wounds cleaned and dressed. He was such a joy to see daily because he always had a wide grin on his face. He brought smiles to all the hospital staff around.

There were lots of difficult situations in the hospital and times of grief because a patient came in late in the progression of a disease, or a women was bleeding out because she had a home abortion (the hospital does not do abortions), or we did not have the resources to give the patient everything that they could have had in the States. While difficult situations were present, the hospital struck me as a place of joy, life and hope and a place where staff will do their utmost at their own personal cost, to make sure that patients got the best care possible.  I am grateful to God for the friendships He gave me in Dadeldhura and the joys He brought me.

-By Erin MacKinney



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