Reflections on a Medical Service Trip: Did we do the right thing?
Rene Franco, Chirag Desai, William Firth, Harold M. Szerlip
Medical service trips have a long and distinguished history. In the United States,interest in medical outreach trips has grown substantially, as medical schools andnon-governmental organizations support numerous overseas endeavors at an estimatedcost of 250 million dollars a year. Although providing care to those in need is arewarding experience, the question that needs to be answered is whether these tripsdo more harm than good. We describe our experience during a medical service trip toEnsenada, Mexico. We treated over 500 people for numerous problems, but due to thelack of services were not able to monitor or ensure follow-up. Did we do more harmby providing medications that can have serious side effects? Recommendations havebeen developed to help short-term international medical service trips provide the bestoverall experience for the participants and the best care for the patients.
service trips; medical education; international rotations
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