At 7:45 we met with our area coordinator to drive us to the hospital: Hospital do Divino Espirito Santo. We were greeted with breakfast (my favorite meal) with juice, coffee, cereal, bread, butter, and eggs. From breakfast we went into an auditorium where we had orientation to the hospital followed by an extensive tour. Honestly, the hospital is pretty massive. I am sure that by the end of 5 weeks there will still be many areas unknown to me.
For my first two weeks in the Atlantis Project at Hospital do Divino Espirito Santo I am in the pediatric unit. I was introduced to the pediatric staff, which was a bit uncomfortable at first because they did not know I speak and understand Portuguese, but once we were on our way it was absolutely fine.
The pediatric unit is beautifully decorated with lively pictures, paintings and colors. Compared to the rest of the hospital it is really fun. The physical therapy center is gorgeous with many colors and different toys designed to make physical therapy fun for children. They also have a respiratory therapy unit.
I sat in a board meeting where they reviewed cases to ensure quality of cases. It was a really great opportunity to practice my Portuguese and listen in on their conversation as they yelled and chatted quickly about past cases. I have to say it definitely is helping my Portuguese and I am learning so much.
After the board meeting Dr. Juan offered to take me to his two consults for the afternoon. He carefully explained two very interesting pediatric cases to me before and while the patients were there, making sure to point out different symptoms and key points for me to notice. He was patient and kind. Dr. Juan and I also discussed the ridiculous cost of drug treatment in America vs. Europe. One medication his patient was taking cost about 100 Euro a week. Thus 400 Euro a month, with the current conversation, that yields a yearly cost of $6,000. A family from a low socioeconomic background would be unable to pay that yearly, as the family would not even make $6,000 in one year. Here this child is able to receive this treatment because her family pays close to zero. That is a huge difference in healthcare quality.
After a fulfilling afternoon I quickly realized it was a bit after 3pm and questioned when and where I was supposed to meet my other Atlantis Fellows. As it turns out, the day we over at 2pm so I took a cab back to the residencia in order to meet back up with everyone. After such a great first day I can’t wait to explore more
Be on the look out! :
As one student dropped out/couldn’t make it there was an extra position in the Base5 English teaching program at the hospital that needed to be filled so I volunteered! I plan my lesson schedule tomorrow. It will be very interesting to teach English to Portuguese native speakers.