Virginia Commonwealth University 2020
I went to Takoradi for my medical placement where I spent time on the pediatric and general medicine wards.
All of the destinations looked great, but I landed on Takoradi because I wanted to go to Africa.
The available resources and the overall environment were vastly different.
My first impression of the placement hospital was that it was so different from back home. The available resources and the overall environment were vastly different.
Everyone I met at the hospital was incredibly friendly and welcoming which made the transition much easier.
Some things that surprised me were that the NICU didn’t have any capability to mechanically ventilate and there were no ICU capabilities despite being a regional referral hospital. Several patients I assisted with treating on the wards were definitely patients who would have been in an ICU back home.
I was continually impressed with the extensive knowledge of all the doctors I met. They were especially good at physical exam skills. Since they need to be very choosy about what tests they order, they relied much more heavily on physical exam findings. This is such an important skill that I will take back home with me.
A particularly memorable case for me was a three-year-old girl who came in with seizures. She ended up having cerebral malaria, something that wouldn’t even make it on my differential back home.
I saw a ton of other things I wouldn’t be likely to see back home including tuberculosis, aspergilloma, cutaneous larva migrans, complications of HIV, and possible polio.
Outside of the hospital, I met great friends at the Work the World house who I explored Ghana with. We went to Mole National park to see elephants, the stilt village, and Axim Beach.
It was a phenomenal way to end medical school for me.
For anyone thinking about doing a Work the World placement, I would highly recommend it! It was a phenomenal way to end medical school for me.
I saw a ton of diagnoses I wouldn’t see back home, learned from incredibly resourceful doctors, and met a wonderful group of people from all over the world.