course of a week, we journeyed to different areas of need and provided free
health care to the locals. Triage and drug dispensing services were managed by
the NUS medical students, and consults were made possible with the aid of an
interpreter – usually a local Cambodian medical student volunteer.
was the biggest resource we had in our group - including GPs, ENT, general
surgery, A&E, ENT, internal medicine and radiology residents. Although
resources were limited, we worked together as a team and tapped on each other’s
subspecialty expertise when approaching complex cases. One of our group members
brought along a portable ultrasound machine, which facilitated the diagnosis of
a triple abdominal aneurysm and a suspicious thyroid lesion. Another group
member promptly diagnosed acute coronary syndrome in a middle age man who
presented with shortness of breath and diaphoresis. The patient was urgently
transferred to the nearest cardiology unit for acute management.
was heartwarming on multiple levels. Most of all, it served as a reminder of
the importance of an integrated team approach to healthcare. With advances in
medical technology and sub-specialisation, the issue of fragmentation in health
care is real. We are blessed to be
living in a country with first-world medical technology and easily accessible
health care. As clinicians, we should remind ourselves of the importance of
fostering integrated patient care coordination. After all, the biggest victim of fragmentation
is the patient.
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