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charity/doctors without borders

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by medstudent2005, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. medstudent2005

    medstudent2005 Welcome to the Jungle
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    howdie again folks

    well, we hear a lot of doctors doing charity work in places like kenya, central america, middle east, etc. i am sure a lot of those docs are in the primary care fields or surgery...do you guys know of any radiologists who partake in these kinds of activities? are there many opportunities for radiologists to work in charity type situations? i don't suppose a country like Honduras would have easy accessibility to MRIs on top of mountains, so is there any room for radiologists in these situations?

    gracias seniors

    NT
     
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  3. goobernaculum

    goobernaculum Member
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    haha...i don't know if many radiologists would want to go overseas considering that most radiologists enter the field either for the comfortable lifestyle (hence, no reason to go overseas to a third world country where you won't get pampered) or because they don't like dealing with patients. i, of course, don't mean to bad mouth radiologists (in fact, i'm strongly considering going into the field myself), but it's somewhat of a fair generalization.
     
  4. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Much of the radiology charity work ends up being in an educational role. There is at least one ACR sponsored opportunity in Africa in which you can spend a month educating local doctors on the use of ultrasound and plain film interpretation. Most poor countries have very few CT or MRI machines and rely heavily on ultrasound.
     
  5. Kalel

    Kalel Membership Revoked
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    Yup. I think that the main problem that third world countries face is not with getting people to read their films, but rather getting them done in the first place. A resident who went over to some country in Africa to work told me that whenever he wanted to order a CT scan of a patient, the patient would have to pay $50 out of his own pocket which is a ton of money for most people in this country. I don't think that patient's paying $50 for a CT scan leaves a lot of money left over for professional reading fees after you take into account equipment costs; it's more of an equipment cost issue rather then a professional service issue. The education thing is a good point though, I know that a lot of docs from this country go to other countries to educate other physicians as charity work. It's always better to teach someone how to fish I guess.
     
  6. bosky

    bosky Member
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    I've often wondered the same thing. I did a medical mission in Zambia with AIDS orphans and it was basically impossible for us to get any radiology. We had several heart defects etc... in 6-8 y/o's that had never been detected. After we screened 700 children, the local government suggested they might pay for them to get plain films...eventually...

    We also got to tour the hospital for 1 of 6 regions in the country (the copperbelt region with actually generates the most income!) - it's hard to describe briefly... but they have porters to carry patients, by themselves, in their wheelchairs or in their beds up the 6 flights of stairs - because the elevators have been out for 6 months. The blood labs look like something out the hopsital in Godfather 1 (aka 1930s medicine). The pharmacy was a shelve of drugs the size of 2 bedroom walls. They have large ward rooms with 36 beds in them (2' apart without any dividers), no sheets and patients basically get no care (there were people coughing up blood etc...). Despite being given a tour by a man that appeared to the hospital director, we never even saw a doctor (literally) - the hospital was basically run by nurses or less-trained versions. The radiology department was scary - all the plain films were from machines built in the 60s that eventually found their way to this hospital via several stays in other countries. They all appeared very underexposed.

    The point is that most people who need medical care in Africa are NOT going to get any radiology! CT is ridiculous in this environment. How the hell would you ship helium for the MRI dewars to a location like that reliably?! Except for the elites - I think the capital hospital claimed 2-3 CT sanners. Elites, westerners and missionaries in Zambia that needed care left immediately for S Africa...The Congo is probably worse!

    BUT to corroborate WBC, I cut out an article in the Sept 2003 RSNA News about a group at Thomas Jefferson (Dr. Goldberg) funded by RSNA that was teaching people from Uganda how to use US. I think that's probably as good as it gets...
     
  7. medstudent2005

    medstudent2005 Welcome to the Jungle
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    that's pretty dismal man. i guess the teaching aspect is pretty neat, but not much to teach if you ain't got the equipment...well, here's a new mission for altruistic radiologist...bring modern day radiology to the less fortunate. call me crazy, but it just might work :)

    au revoir

    NT
     
  8. Dr.Bevo

    Dr.Bevo Senior Member
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    While you can't do radiology on most third world mission trips, radiology does provide one with the scheduling benefits and salary to make these kind of trips possible.

    A radiologist I shadowed a few years back took off a month each summer and did a "working vacation" at medical clinics in latin america. He was doing mostly primary care type stuff though.

    There are only a few other specialties (ER, etc.) where its possible to abandon your patients and just take off for a month, and with the way radiology salaries are now, you can miss a month of work and be just fine financially.

    In this way, radiology gives you many opportunities to volunteer your time.
     
  9. medstudent2005

    medstudent2005 Welcome to the Jungle
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    you know, that's not a bad idea...but man, i give the guy credit for remembering primary care stuff, like, you know, the physical exam, which most radiologists have probably locked away in the deep recesses of their minds :)

    ciao
     
  10. fullefect1

    fullefect1 Senior Member
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    If I am wrong this may sound like a dumb question. But can a board certified Radiologist go and volunteer their time doing things like ER and primary care in 3rd world countries?
     

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