It was the first day of the medical portion of the brigade. We had been preparing for this day ever since our first meeting back in September. We've been hosting Rite Aid drives to collect medicine, contacting local pharmacies and doctors for donations, and counting pills. We've reenacted and gone through every station at the clinic and practiced Spanish with each other to make sure we knew what we were going to say.
When we arrived at Pueblo Nuevo bright and early in the morning, there was already a large group of people waiting for the clinic. We set up as fast as we could and began to see people about an hour later.
We had several stations that the patients had to go through. The first station was Triage, where we basically conducted a pre-evaluation. We asked about symptoms and pains, and took down blood pressure for the adults and weight and height for the children. The patient would then see the doctor. We worked with two physicians: one was a volunteer from Global Medical Brigades, and the other one, Dr. Pacheco, is actually the father of one of our brigadiers! We would have a brigadier shadow the doctor by observing and helping form diagnoses. From there, the patient had several options. He or she could see the gynecologist, dentist, or retrieve their medications at the Pharmacy. In gynecology, it was interesting to see how the patients trusted us to work with the gynecologist. At the dental clinic, both the dentists, Paul and Kevin, actually allowed us to assist with tooth extractions and fillings. Furthermore, they took the time to occasionally pause and explain to us exactly what they were doing. We also held dental charlas for the kids. We gave out toothbrush and toothpaste packs and taught them how to keep their teeth healthy and strong. The last station the patients would visit was the Pharmacy. We had suitcases and boxes filled with medications sorted in one of the bigger rooms. As brigadiers, we were responsible for putting together prescriptions by finding them and giving them to the pharmacist to double check. We would then distribute them to the patients waiting outside.
As predicted, the first day was quite busy and hectic. It was, however, a great start to the medical portion of the brigade. We all couldn't wait to come back tomorrow.
- Anna Zhang, Brigadier