Gloria Williams - St. Vincent and the GrenadinesTrinity SOM Students Assist World Pediatric Project in St. Vincent
The World Pediatric Project held its 6th Mission for 2014 between 21st and 24th March, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown. This time it was the turn of the Annual Cardiology Clinic, conducted by Dr. William Moskovitz, whom Eastern Caribbean Representative of the WPP, Jaqueline Brown-King calls a ‘one-man team’.
During the four days of consultations, twenty-five students of Trinity School of Medicine worked in shifts to assist Dr. Moskovitz, who saw a total of one hundred and ten patients. Dr. Bharati Datta, Head of Paediatrics at the hospital, explained that physical examinations and echocardiograms were conducted on each patient in the first instance then they were triaged. “Patients needing surgery,” she said, “may have to travel to the United States.”
This was not the first instance of involvement of Trinity students in the WPP clinics. WPP Rep. Browne-King spoke of the partnership between the World Pediatric Project and Trinity School of Medicine: “There is a fruitful partnership between Trinity and the WPP, in terms of the support they provide. CEO of the WPP, Susan Rickman has indicated that Trinity students should have first priority over any other entities requesting such interaction. They have been privy to Continuing Medical Education (CME) presentations, which have given them background information and a better understanding of the issues.”
When asked about expectations for participating in this first opportunity cardiology clinic, student Asfo Stephens spoke on behalf of his colleagues. He noted, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that our expectations are to enlighten ourselves about the whole cardiology field. It is a very complicated field, and we learned a lot of things in class. Now instead of only seeing what is in the textbooks, we will see what they are all about and will put what is in the textbooks into actual reality.”
WPP Rep Browne-King was able to detail their involvement. “They were able to see firsthand the visual impact of the echocardiogram in action,” she said, “They are in a learning mode. In the classroom, it is presented in books. Here it is live and direct.” She said that the students were given the opportunity to use their own stethoscope to listen to various heart sounds, to discuss cases and then were assigned to specific areas for practical application.”
The cardiology mission looked specifically at rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease; congenital heart disease; and other cardiac issues that would have come on board. Patients were all twenty-one years or younger. A total of 32 children were seen with congenital heart disease on Day One. These were follow-ups. On Days Two and Three, 60 children with rheumatic fever were given attention; and on Day Four, 28 new referrals with congenital heart disease were seen. Of these, seven cases were scheduled to travel to Richmond, Virginia this year for surgery. Rep Browne-King explained that the list will be priortorized based on urgency and hospital space.
This year’s mission also facilitated the compilation of statistics for the National Rheumatic Registry. The clinics were able to ascertain information from persons, including adults which did not attend former clinics. The Trinity students were given a briefing to enable them to complete this procedure efficiently.
The WPP team endeavors to make three to four mission trips to St. Vincent each year. The next WPP Cardiology mission will be in 2015 and Trinity School of Medicine looks forward to the continued involvement of its students.