Work (and play) prevented contributions from the volunteers during the actual medical camp days, so here are their reflections during the bus ride back to Delhi:
DAY SIX - Submitted by Lynette de los Santos:
We had a late start yesterday at around 4pm and finished at 2:30am…it was physically and emotionally draining. I was told by one of the cataract camp volunteers that they registered around 8,000 and are expecting about 5,000 today…they were coming from different parts of the district. Not all of them are having echos though…thank God! My arms will probably fall off in the end if that was the case. Today is our second and last day, we had a quick breakfast and started to head back to the camp where we were just a few hours earlier. Our set-up was the same as yesterday - 5 beds for the male ward and 5 for the female ward where I was, along with Marti, Neha, and Gee. By the way, the male ward had a big “ECHO” sign outside while the female ward did not…and why is that? It was because females were smarter (according to Marti! LOL). Patients started to come, one after another with their screening sheet on hand. The lines got shorter…then longer…and longer…they just kept coming!!! There were calm moments but it quickly became chaotic towards the evening when some of the women started getting restless. We were afraid our fabric divider was going to fall down. Neha came to the rescue and talked to the women waiting outside and they listened and became patient. It was very tiring to say the least but there was a positive vibe in the air that kept everyone going. I actually felt more energized today than yesterday. There’s something about this experience that is so surreal… I want to seize and enjoy every moment of it.
The hands-on training that we provided to the local doctors has paid off. The physicians have so much confidence following the protocol and actually capturing great images with the GE Vscan within our goal of 10 minutes per study. Most of them stayed and worked with us yesterday and they have the same if not more enthusiasm today. Our workflow was smoother getting patients in and out. The local GE folks, especially Ashish, were extremely helpful getting the studies downloaded and helping with battery changes. We would just call out his name...”Ashish!!!! …and there he was right in front of you with a smile, offering his help. “How can I help you Ma’am Lindel” (he never got my name right but I think he just wanted to be funny). We found ourselves laughing, making jokes, enjoying the Indian tea and coffee that were so generously offered throughout the day.
I have to be honest and say that I was skeptical about the focused echo protocol. I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough images to provide diagnostic study, but I realized that our goal was to provide cardiac screening and it was enough to assess LV function and valvular abnormalities. The Vscan proved to be a great tool to use for focused echo studies. It was quick and easy to use! Our mission to offer sustainability by providing hands-on training to local cardiologists was happening right before our eyes. It was amazing to see their imaging technique develop in such a short period. I certainly hope that all their expectations were met and that we have provided them a good foundation to further develop their scanning techniques. Thank you ASE for this life-changing experience….this was really an adventure of a lifetime!!!!
Submitted by Carlene McClanahan and Jennifer Neary:
It’s midday Friday and oh, what a week we have experienced here in India. We are travelling back to Delhi by bus after our two days of scanning at the medical camp. We arrived at our destination hotel later than expected on Tuesday night. Greeted with floral bouquets and friendly handshakes, we met over coffee and tea to discuss strategies for the upcoming days at the camp.
Wednesday morning we set out for the medical camp to view the facilities and meet our hosts. A ceremony was held to commemorate the first day of camp, welcoming the patients and visitors in attendance, and explaining the purpose of our mission there. We were taken on a tour of the on- site hospital where various procedures are performed, including the cataract surgery our echo patients were being screened for. As we were meeting for lunch, patients began to arrive at the hospital to begin their pre-admission screening. We gathered once more for a quick meeting to discuss the protocol, review technical problems and their solutions, and split the group into two teams to cover the two separate scanning areas we would be running (female ward and male ward).
It was determined that Jennifer, David and I would be scanning in the male ward alongside nine Indian physicians, mentoring them and assisting when needed. Our business partners at GE provided the Vscan handheld machines which were used for the general screening echoes. Vivid I and Vivid Q machines were on hand to add additional information and images if this was deemed necessary. Core Sound Imaging was the supplier of the cloud-based image storage used during these two days for the reader program. Around 4 pm we began scanning our first patients.
There was a wonderful air of cooperation and collaboration in our room. The language barrier became a non- issue, as our Indian physician partners helped us work with the patients. Senior, more echo-seasoned doctors assisted their less experienced counterparts, and assisted our sonographer team as well, as we scanned through the night, breaking only for dinner around 9 PM. We wrapped up the final patients on that first day at 2 AM Thursday morning. Walking out into the still night, we were tired but satisfied. The first day had been a resounding success …
Thursday morning at 9 AM we were back at the medical camp, ready to resume scanning the next round of patients. As the second day went on, we individually and collectively reached the same conclusion. Our physician partners/students were improving significantly in their ability to scan patients and recognize pathology. This was impressive given the fact that many of the doctors had little to no echo experience. In addition to that, the majority many of the patients exhibited the same limited windows of those with COPD. By the end of the first day of medical camp, our physicians were able to identify valvular pathology and more accurately visually quantify regurgitation. On the second day of the camp, they progressed to be able to identify wall motion abnormalities, which were the most significant findings in this patient population. In our opinion this crash course was not only an amazing experience and a wonderful collaboration, it was effective in advancing their practice of echocardiography.