As a doctor I often wonder what exactly my patients hear when I give them an unexpected diagnosis. Did they understand what is going on? Were they comfortable enough to ask me questions? Are they okay with their plan of care? As you can imagine, when I participate in a medical mission, in a foreign country, where I am speaking my second language and the culture is different from my own, my level of concern is through the roof. After spending about five minutes with the local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that CCC has partnered up with, my worries were put to rest. From the Director to the nurses we work with, everyone can speak most of the languages encountered on our clinic screening days. As I go from station to station, I hear team members, nurses and doctors educating the women about the screening process, their results and follow up, and they are doing an amazing job.
Today, we were at a local clinic, just outside of Coban in San Juan Chamelco. Half way through the morning, a woman proudly approached me with her paperwork. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite tell if I really knew her, or she was just being friendly. The nurse I was working with talked with her, positioned her to be screened, and confidently stated, “Negative” after applying the acetic acid. I looked, agreed and went to fill out the patient’s paperwork. Below her papers for today, she had another result sheet, dated 2015, with my signature. She had been screened at our clinic last year, had a positive result and underwent cryotherapy. At the bottom of her paper, in my handwriting it gave her post procedure precautions and clearly stated that she should return in one year. And there she was. With a negative VIA, no less. I walked back behind the curtain and gave her a big hug. “You returned!” I told her. “Yes, of course” she replied. I was so happy, she had heard my words and followed up. She was happy that she was now negative. We caught up and then she proudly shared the news with the rest of the women who were waiting in line. I walked back into the clinic and did the same, making sure that every team member knew that we were heard.
By: Dr. Erica Oberman