Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Week In Guatemala: The Tough Cases

Dr. Jason (left), Dr. Mke (right)
The following are summaries to illustrate patient cases where additional care is recommended. Generally these recommendations come through extensive consultation, first by doctors, then by FTC Canada and FTC Guatemala staff.

The consultation by doctors usually indicates that a case is more serious and that further arrangements should be made for medical stays or prescribed interventions.

FTC Canada and FTC Guatemala make arrangements, first to ensure payment can be made for further treatments and then to work out transportation and other logistics.

These summaries are in no way meant to be proper medical assessments. They are a combination of this bloggers notes with some input from doctors and others present at the time.
There was a fairly young man needing a MRI because of unexplained numbness on the right side of his face. Dr Jason Lazarou (Neurology expert) ran a series of tests to try and isolate any neurological problems but could not make a diagnosis without the additional testing.

A woman came to the clinic with a complaint of a mass on her breast. Dr. Mike Gilmour attempted to drain fluids from the area but was unsuccessful. FTC Guatemala has arranged for her to go to hospital for further testing.

Earlier in the week a young man with blindness in one eye was presented to Dr. Jason. His vision in the one eye had been lost within the last month. He also presented with lower motor neuron seventh cranial nerve palsy (likely formed within past 3 days). A series of tests – very expensive tests – would normally be ordered for a patient presenting these symptoms. At the very least, a MRI, lumbar puncture, blood tests (for syphilis – amongst other things) and a chest x-ray. This, according to Dr. Jason is perhaps a minimum series of tests required.

Dr. Mike consults with Dr. Channy
A little girl came into the clinic with severe burns to her hands and arms, face and scalp. She had been left in her home alone several years before, when a house fire developed. The results of the fire were devastating. Her hands were essentially melted, muscles and bones both. Dr. Channy Muhn attended to her and really wants to ensure her long-term care. Initially this will involve sending special materials from Canada to Central America. These will be used immediately to insure some restoration to skin. This is a very complex case that appears not only FTC Canada and Guatemala are committed to, but Dr. Channy seems willing to pursue in order to restore some use to the young girls hands.

A middle-aged woman named Elena came to the clinic in the afternoon on Day 5. She presented with a large tumour in her breast. A suspected breast cancer requires biopsy. Dr. Sasha High thinks that it is most likely cancerous but the biopsy will confirm this assessment.
The team at FTC Guatemala takes these more severe cases into their care. They will ensure hospital visits are arranged and follow-up care provided. The resources of FTC Guatemala are non-existent and the care can only be funded through FTC Canada.
Dr. Tony Brown treats a Guatemalan family

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