High school sophomore Xavier Christy is on his first medical mission to Honduras with the Faith and Humanity Medical Mission team. In his on-the-ground correspondence, he shares his clinical experiences and his surprise at the level of teamwork and cooperation required in medicine.
My favorite aspect is working during clinics.
I had opportunities to shadow health care providers, learn new skills and help others. As a result, my interest in the medical world has exponentially increased.
One of my most memorable experiences happened while shadowing Honduran dentists. I saw the importance of good dental hygiene firsthand as almost every patient that came to the clinic had rotten teeth.
Our only means of helping patients was through teeth extractions.
After injecting the numbing medicine, the dentists guided me on how to extract a tooth. Pulling out my first tooth, I was surprised by its shape. The crown was completely rotted away, but the roots were unharmed.
After the extraction, I gave the patient supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste to keep up their oral hygiene, and Ibuprofen for the pain. I’ve since extracted a few more teeth, but I’ll never forget my first extraction.
While working in the clinics, my perspective about healthcare shifted.
During a few clinical days, I worked as a runner, taking prescriptions to and from the pharmacy.
The fast-paced tempo allowed me gain hands-on experience and see the necessity of cooperation. I saw providers and translators work tirelessly together to provide care, even while hundreds still waited to be seen.
Providers talked constantly with patients to learn of any issues. From patient interactions to diagnosing and providing medications, I realized that teamwork is essential.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel to Honduras, and plan to go again in the future.
I was able to successfully accomplish my goal of helping people on this trip.
Alexis Bennett is a consultant for St. Luke's Community Health and Engagement.