Report from Haiti’s Medical Front Line

For complicated reasons perhaps having to do with how both doctors and patients are trained, blogger “Scott” finds that Haitian patients have an unusual approach to foreign doctors:

they seem to have this insane mindset, exactly the opposite of that prevailing in parts of the States, where medicine is good. In particular, getting more medicine of any type is always a good thing and will make them healthier, and doctors are these strange heartless people who will prevent them from taking a stomach medication just because maybe they don’t have a stomach problem at this exact moment. As a result, they lie like heck. I didn’t realize exactly how much they were lying until I heard the story, now a legend at our clinic, of the man who came in complaining of vaginal discharge. He had heard some woman come in complaining of vaginal discharge and get lots of medication for it, so he figured he should try his luck with the same. And this wasn’t an isolated incident, either. Complaints will go in "fads", so that if a guy comes in complaining of ear pain and gets lots of medicine, on his way out he’ll mention it to the other patients in line and they’ll all mention ear pain too – or so the translators and veteran staff have told me.

via Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz. The whole account is interesting, although it differs quite a bit from other accounts I’ve read (and heard) of post-disaster medicine in Haiti.

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