“I would very much love for the hospital to provide a venue for medical students and residents who would wish to gain an experience in international medicine,” said Odeke.
He has previous experience with doing just that. In 2006, he visited Kadami with a small contingent from the Brody School of Medicine that included medical students Bryan and Mary Dawson, nurse Linda Basden, and photographer Larry Basden.
When they arrived in the village, word spread quickly and soon the villagers had erected a makeshift clinic for them to see patients in. Before it was even completed, hundreds of people had gathered, hoping for care.
“If you are [a doctor] in America, you can focus on one patient at a time. In emergency medicine, you may even have several, but not hundreds like we saw there,” said Bryan Dawson, now a senior emergency medicine resident in the ECU Emergency Medicine Residency. “
It was overwhelming to see that kind of unmet need. And they are no less deserving of medical services than anyone else in the world.”
Without help from Dr. Odeke, this man’s thyroid goiter could have become life-threatening.
Since that visit, Odeke has received requests from other medical students wanting to go to Kadami for an internationally designed elective.
“[The students] thought it was a tremendous learning experience. They were put in a situation where they had to make a sound clinical judgment with the barest of material provisions. They did not have MRIs, they did not have CT scans, or X-rays to rely on. They benefited more from listening to the patient, getting a history, and trying to get as close as possible to a diagnosis without relying heavily on labs and other investigative procedures,” said Odeke.
Without proper accommodations for students, and without a proper clinic, Odeke knows that he cannot return with more students. He hopes that will change upon completion of the first phase of the project, which will include an outpatient clinic and residences for nurses and medical staff in which students could stay. Dawson agrees with Odeke’s assessment that students will want to come to Kadami.
“I think once [the clinic] is up and running, it has great potential to provide learning opportunities to medical students,” he said. “I think a lot of medical students have an interest in travel and seeing the way medicine is practiced in other parts of the world. And I think a lot of people would be interested in those types of opportunities if they were ready-made.”
• • • • •