This Mission Monday is a two-for-one special! In the last Mission Monday story, I talked with Dr. Ray Reiser, a pediatrician from Little River Medical Center who participated in the Equiscript OneWorld Health medical mission trip to Tola last December. In our interview, I asked Ray what he remembered most about the trip. He told me about a little boy that walked into their clinic one of the days of their week-long mission. Unbeknownst to Ray, that boy would leave a lasting impression on him.
“I was working in a makeshift clinic when I met the child and recognized he needed emergency work up and IV antibiotics and fluids. Given the laws of the land, I had to get admission orders from a local M.D. As it turns out, HIV patients are tightly managed in Nicaragua and the admission and even ED process is incredibly formal (not a criticism, it appears the country pays for every step of care and reasonably wants to ensure the kids are receiving appropriate interventions for these high-risk individuals). The entire process of getting him from our mobile unit to the hospital was onerous, and involved two miles of walking (that was when I carried him), two bus trips, and a cab ride. It took discussion and review by four different doctors. As you can imagine, there were many moments where he could have fallen through the cracks, hence I stuck with him until definitive care could be guaranteed.
It was a heart touching moment. One thing that’s tough is when you leave. I go to bat for my patients all the time. I’m a huge advocate for them and I remember flying home and thinking about him. He needs a lot more down the road and it’s the reality of life that not everyone is going to stay in one location and you won’t be able to stay in contact with everyone, but you do your best for them.
I was hoping to work with his doctors in Nicaragua and use some of our resources here in the U.S. to help him financially with school, nutrition, and clinical appointments. He has uncontrolled AIDS and I don’t know if they can do resistance testing out there or if they do it routinely and I wanted to coordinate to have his test samples sent here so we can run the tests. I was so bummed when I was talking to TJ (Director of the OneWorld Health missions in Nicaragua) because he identified the kid afterwards, but the family has since moved closer to Managua and we no longer have that ongoing support.”
- Raymond Reiser, M.D., Little River Medical Center
Ray said that he sees and treats children every day, but this boy has stuck with him, especially because the team was able to see him at a critical time. “It was pretty remarkable. If people with high-risk conditions or serious illnesses don’t get help in time, they can die or be permanently injured.” The team that day took notice of the boy’s condition and didn’t have him wait but instead asked if Ray could see him immediately. Ray made a point that the team and the communication they had is what made them successful while they were there.
What was just another clinic day became an encounter that very well may have saved the boy’s life. His story puts into perspective just how important the volunteers and OneWorld Health are to these communities.
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Photos by Sully Sullivan of LawtonMiles for OneWorld Health.
Erika Pfeifer, Marketing and Client Success Coordinator
Erika Pfeifer is the liaison between Marketing and Client Success at Equiscript. She works with both teams to collaborate and come up with ways to better reach and serve our patients, clients, and communities. Erika is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where she studied communication and marketing.