Dermatology in a Third World Country
Sometimes it can be very beneficial to step outside our comfortable office and challenge our practice in a foreign setting.
I left my office stocked with pharmaceutical samples, running water, electricity, my assistant, sterile supplies and everything else I took for granted during my normal workday and flew to Haiti to serve dermatology patients.
I was part of a medical team that set up a dental and medical clinic in the jungle village of Marbial, Haiti. I saw an average of 70 patients a day, ranging from infants to geriatrics. Many patients traveled by foot - without shoes - carrying their children for 8 hours to reach my makeshift exam room.
My most common diagnosis was nodular scabies, followed by tinea corporis. Some of those cases are shown in the photographs posted here. The surrounding schools were infested with lice and my 200-tube supply of permethrin cream did not last the week.
I was lucky enough to have a translator, but so much of dermatology is visual that I didn't struggle with the language barrier. What I did struggle with was the overwhelming emotional component that I was not prepared for, especially the tragedy that is Haiti.
I am curious if others have ventured outside their office and joined an international medical mission? If so, where?