I was on the caye last week, and we had to use the new polyclinic. My wife woke up with a swollen mass on her neck (just above the collar bone) the size of a large lemon. We are both nurses and knew what to look for. No scary problems, but concerning because it was so close to her trachea. I gave her 50 mg of Benadryl and decided that a local medico should take a look. I have no clue what creepy crawlers are around, or what marine life could have been responsible.
Dr. Rodriguez evaluated her quickly. The place was very clean, very open, air conditioned and a competent triage nurse met us at the door. Cost was "whatever we wanted to contribute" (you drop it in a little cash box right at the triage station. I spoke privately with the nurse and she told us that locals who could afford to donate usually give $10 BZ. We left a $100 BZ).
We never got a definitive answer, but the physician agreed that it was most likely a sting of some sort. He thought the Benadryl was a good idea. My wife was fine, and back to normal, the next day. Dr. Rodriguez saw us in down town San Pedro the next day and hurried across the street to check on my wife (curbside care...cool!).
I later spoke with him and worked out a way for us to help the clinic. We American healthcare providers are very wasteful. I work at an academic medical center. If we open an outside sterile wrapper, and the inside package and needed item (let's say suture material) still is protected and sterile, we throw it away. Not any longer.
My wife works at another hospital, and we are going to collect the medical supplies (which are still perfect to use), and we are sorting, inventorying and shipping them over to San Pedro.
If anyone needs advice on what items could be useful, email me (HeloRN2@yahoo.com). I can go over your items with you. You can ship them to:
Dr. Otto Rodriguez
Lion's Club PolyClinic II
San Pedro Town, Belize
Please fax the inventory directly to Dr. Rodriguez before sending. His fax # is: 011-50-1-226-2852. Mark the package "Donated Medical Supplies", and put a copy of the inventory in the package. Following this procedure closely helps the good doctor deal with Belize Customs.
The PolyClinic provide a lot of free services to the poor in the area, and the Lion's Club have their hands full just maintaining the physical plant. Medical supplies are expensive and hard to come by for the clinic, and this would be a wonderful project to grab on to.
C'mon...be a hero and recycle at the same time.