Written by Alexander Rivero, MD, PGY-4 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Otolaryngology Program while on Global Health rotation at Hospital de la Familia in Nuevo Progreso, Guatemala in November 2016.
A known entity – this time, I was less nervous and more confident as we took our 12 plus hour journey from San Francisco to Nuevo Progreso, Guatemala. I felt empowered, sharing with my co-resident, Dr. Jonathan Lin, the ins-and-outs of the trip like when we would have a rest stop along the long way or to make sure and wear pants because they blast the air conditioning on the bus. We were greeted by the staff and locals with a small fireworks display as per custom and unloaded our bags quickly as we dawned our scrubs to start a planned clinic that same day. We immediately began signing several patients up for surgery the following day. As a senior resident on the trip, I was able to have first pick at the complex cases as well as provide guidance on OR planning and scheduling. The transition from spectator on my first trip to Hospital de la Familia (HDLF) to active learner and organizer this time was perhaps the most notable change for me. I quickly realized that