It has been a few days since I last wrote, so I have plenty to say. I think I will split it into two different blogs postings. The first will be about the hospital in Turrialba. We traveled there this morning, stopped at a little restaurant where I had the best gallo pinto (beans and rice, the breakfast version) I have had in my entire time here. When we arrived at the hospital there was a lot of confusion about what we were supposed to do. At San Ramon they were much more organized and eager to show us what they do and hear what we do. At Turrialba only one of the technicians came on the tour with us and none of the rest of the technicians really talked to us at all. However, once we started the tour it was SO interesting. We got to go into all parts of the hospital and look at the pertinent machines. It was great to see the anesthetic machines, suction pumps, pulse oximeters, autoclaves, etc. that we have been learning about in our classes. It is so different to see things in real life than in the classes. I think the strangest experience was that we went right into rooms where there were patients and looked at equipment. I felt really disrespectful, like I was taking a tour of the zoo. However, we were as respectful as possible and it was nice to see where each piece of equipment is used. We also walked straight into the “sterile” surgery room; however we did not get scrubbed up and sterile. And once we left the room we left the door open. I found that extremely strange. Also they just left equipment running after they were done showing it to us. I can see now why there are strained relationships between doctors and technicians. If there is not respect for the space and equipment there is not going to be any respect for the people. Also, as we toured the hospital we saw a lot of equipment just being stored in the hallways. This was crazy to me as that would never be seen in an American hospital! Apparently they just don’t even have enough space to store equipment, so it sits in the hall until it is needed for a procedure.

                We also got to work on some of the equipment in the repair shop. What I have discovered, though, is they give us all the equipment that they have tried to work on, are unable to fix, and often the equipment is on its way out of service. It is basically impossible to actually repair any of this equipment so it is frustrating to spend time “working” on the equipment with hopes that it will be repaired where in reality if we do “fix” anything I don’t really feel like it will be put back into service anyway. However, it is really interesting to take apart some of this equipment and see what happens underneath and I think it will be so much better having some knowledge of what problems could be as we head out to our hospitals next month.  One of the machine I worked on today was an ECG machine. I found that the battery terminal was corroded, when I knew exactly how to fix because the terminals on my car often become corroded. Turns out my experience working on my car has come in handy after all!

                As far as specs of the hospital, it was 150 beds that serve about 1000 people per day. The region of Turrialba serves 300,000 people and I believe is the only hospital in the area. It seems insane to me to have so many people that use one hospital. Hopefully they don’t have any epidemics soon.

                I think that our experience today may be more similar to what I experience next month, but I am not sure. It will be so interesting to see how it goes next month! Anyway, next week we get to tour the children’s hospital in San Jose. So far these hospital experiences have been really great, so I am very much looking forward to seeing more.

Ok I have run out of time for writing right now, but I will do so again soon. Now we are headed off to Manuel Antonio beach.


Doreen Van Leeuwen
7/3/2010 06:02:20 am

So glad that you are getting to do what you love! I so enjoy your posts, keep 'em coming. Don't feel too bad about fixing equipment that might not be used again - it's all experience. Hilarious, about the coroded terminal - see, even car experiences count! Love you!!

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