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A Day in Guatemalan Hospitals


Today has been one of the hardest days of my life. This morning we went to the Hospital Nacional de Chiquimula. This is a public hospital with very limited resources and technology. We split up into groups and went to the emergency department, the intensive care unit, labor and delivery, and pediatrics. My group started out in the ICU, which was divided into the pediatric side and the adult side. Unfortunately, in the short time we were there we lost two little ones. An 8 year old, who suffered from pneumonia and went into septic shock, and a 5 month old who also suffered from pneumonia. The four members of my group were able to share tears and prayers with the mother of the 8 year old. We then found out that she did not have enough money to buy a casket for her child. If a family is not able to buy a casket, they cannot take the body from the hospital. We were able to all pitch in and buy caskets for both of these heartbroken, but grateful mothers. I cannot imagine the absolute and agonizing pain these mothers are feeling with the loss of their children. However, I am thankful that we were there and had the opportunity to offer what little condolences that we could.

On a lighter note, a small group of students had the opportunity very early this morning to observe a cesarean section at a local clinic in Chiquimula. Back at the hospital, the group in labor and delivery group got to see a child birth. One of the students even got to cut the umbilical cord! Also, the group in the ER got to see a cast put on a patient’s leg. It was very interesting to see the differences in practice and technique between here and the states.
Upon leaving this hospital, we then travelled to a private hospital called Centro Medico de Chiquimula. Several students got to observe surgeries, see sutures being put in, start IV’s, assess vital signs, observe patients in the ER, and help nurses on their rounds.
My thoughts and prayers are constantly with the families of those precious young souls we lost today. However, I will stay strong and do what I can to help those in need at our final clinic tomorrow in a nearby village! The need there is so great and I am so thankful for the opportunity to assist in providing the much needed healthcare for these people.

Mandy Taylor

My name is Mandy Taylor. I am 22 years old. My hometown is Belgreen, AL. I am currently a senior at the University of North Alabama. I am studying Nursing, and will graduate in December, 2015.

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