Enlightening and Challenging Experiences

Hi, I’m Casey Toombs and a medical biology/ Pre-PA student. I spend most of my time as a volunteer EMT and doing research in a lab. I was intrigued by the trip to Ghana to gain healthcare experience and knowledge of the culture.

Today was filled with many enlightening and challenging experiences. We started the clinic where I run the lab table. When the providers suspect malaria from the patient’s symptoms, I am able to use a test using a few drops of blood from their finger. It takes about 15 minutes to determine whether they are positive or negative for the infectious disease. This prevents us from over treating patients with malaria symptoms if they don’t have it. Today we tested about 10 patients and only had two very sick children that ended up having malaria.

I also observe the two providers, Andrew and Jessica, while they see patients. I have been able to help them with rechecking blood pressures or listening to lungs or the heart. This has enlightened my perspective in working with children and has expanded my knowledge of so many different diseases. One of the most amazing things I have noticed is how the mothers care for their children. They wrap them up in a cloth to carry them on their back and just care for them deeply. Another observation I saw was that none of the patients complained of how long they had to wait and were more concerned that they were getting the chance to get care. I am also truly amazed by how resourceful everyone is and how they use what they have, such as splints made of cardboard or cloths to carry children.

Two of the community workers also brought us to a woodcarver and the Takarodi market. The woodcarver had many incredible pieces that you could see the hard work they spend on them. In the market, it was amazing how all the children run up and are so excited to see you and ask your name. It was definitely a busy market and crowded but no one was in a rush or rude in any way. I have definitely gained a new perspective in how simple life can be and how ridiculous it is to stress about the little things in life.

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