Home' The Source : Fourth Quarter 2016 Contents to Guatemala to work alongside the local medical
community to provide care to over 25,000 patients.
“I go with the expectation that I’m helping those
in need,” Jenkins says. “But often I find that I am the
one who is touched.”
PHARMACISTS IN HIGH DEMAND
Medical mission teams often have to contend with
limited drug formularies. Because of the drug knowledge
and expertise pharmacists bring, they are being viewed
as critical members of medical mission teams, explains
Stacy Carson, PharmD, a pharmacist at North Florida
Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida.
When pharmacists are part of a medical mission, they
can help with dosing issues, recommend therapy alter-
natives for drug allergies and prevent medication errors.
“I was on one trip where a bottle of 500 mg aspirin
was being bagged as 500 mg acetaminophen tablets,”
Carson says. “The name on the aspirin bottle was ‘ace-
tylsalicylic acid’ and someone helping in the pharmacy
didn’t realize that it was different from acetaminophen.
I caught the error before it was given to patients.”
Carson first went on a medical mission trip to
Honduras when she was in high school. Since then, she’s
also traveled to Guatemala, Nicaragua, the Philippines
and Moldova to work in makeshift pharmacies—quite
different from the state-of-the art pharmacy she’s used
to at North Florida.
“We typically work in a mobile clinic setting,” she
explains. “We’re set up in a room with drugs set out on
tables. There are no computers, medical records, printed
pharmacy labels or automated dispensing machines. We
receive handwritten prescriptions from the providers
and fill the scripts.”
Language barriers and limited formularies can
make the pharmacy work difficult. “On my last trip to
Nicaragua, there were two drugs on our formulary that
I was not familiar with, and they were not listed in my
hard-copy drug information reference,” Carson remem-
bers. “Plus, the bottle labels were in a different language.
When I had internet at the hotel later that night, I took
screen shots of the drug information I found so I would
have that available at the clinic.”
Despite the challenges, Carson says “it’s important to
use your profession and specialized skill set to help other
people” in places that don’t have adequate health services.
COLLABORATING WITH LOCAL SURGEONS
More than two-thirds of the world’s population—nearly
5 billion people—lack access to safe, affordable surgery,
according to a report in BMJ Global Health. Those kinds
of dire statistics compel many physicians to serve abroad.
“I’m glad to do my part to help people around the
world,” explains Kevin Clarke, M.D., an oncology sur-
geon at RWJBarnabas Health in Newark, New Jersey.
In 2008, Clarke went on his first medical mission trip to
Ghana with the International Surgical Health Initiative
(ISHI). In the last nine years, he’s also been to Guatemala,
Belize, the Philippines, Haiti and Jamaica.
While in Ghana, Clarke works with operating room
nurses, recovery room nurses and anesthesiologists—all
traveling with ISHI—to perform simple surgical proce-
dures, such as hysterectomies, colectomies and hernia
repairs. On a trip to Tettah Quarshie Memorial Hospital
in Mampong, Ghana, in September 2015, a total of 100
patients were triaged; 48 operations were performed; 40
patients had ultrasound consultations; and
20 medical and palliative care consultations
“It’s extremely rewarding to know you
can utilize your talents to facilitate and help
people who wouldn’t normally have access
to that type of care,” Clarke says.
In addition to working with the team of
volunteers, Clarke also works with local
“The hospital we go to in Ghana is a
government-run teaching hospital, not un-
like a teaching hospital here in the United
States,” he explains. “It’s important that
we try to incorporate the local physicians
Continued on page 34
Carson brings her
and expertise on
trips, helping to
For general surgeon
are a family affair.
His son, Jonathan,
daughter, Allison, a
nurse, and wife, Joy,
also a nurse, have
32 The Source | Fourth Quarter 2016
Links Archive Third Quarter 2016 First Quarter 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page