Our first week in the hospital has been exciting; the hospital is one of the busiest in UB seeing over 200 trauma cases a day. The staff have welcomed us and are keen to practice their English, as we try to improve our Mongolian, kind of picking up 5 words in the opening day. We have all been allocated individual supervisors in different departments to enable us to get the most out of our time here. Sid has been allocated a supervisor in Paediatric Orthopaedics, Matt- Orthopaedics and Ross- Intensive Care and Anaesthetics. We will all change around weekly enabling us to understand more about trauma medicine in Mongolia.
A little about Sid’s first week:
I walked into the Doctors office to find one of the older members of the team hanging out of the window smoking. The cultural differences in the hospital immediately struck me, the clinics were the busiest I have seen, people were queuing down the corridor continually opening doors to the clinic hustling the person before them out. At some points there were 3 or 4 patients in a small room with the doctor acting as more of a security guard at times having to usher people out of the door.
The clinics mainly comprised of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), Rickets, fractures and congenital abnormalities which were all more common in Mongolia than England. Surgery mainly comprised of the reduction of fractures, internal and external fixations in a theatre room which you would think was inadequate for the job but it seemed to have the essentials, including a stereo which seemed to be the modernist part of the kit.
All the doctors were amazing and tried to help me settle in as much as possible despite the language barriers. One doctor in particular was especially helpful having treat me to lunch he asked if I would like to go to the countryside for the Nadaam, unfortunately I had to politely decline as I had tickets for Ulaanbaatar’s Nadaam festival. He made sure that I attended the raising of the flags on the National Flag Day, the day before the Nadaam. This consisted of speeches from the clinical director, the national anthem and people going around shaking hands and kissing on the cheek, I was targeted by an elder woman.
My next invite saw me at a party in the Doctor’s office later that day to celebrate the awards for ‘Best Young Doctor’s’. Turns out paediatrics gained 6 of the 7 awards in the hospital calling for celebrations. Obviously this called for cake, chocolate and shots of Chinggis Vodka at the tender hour of 3pm.
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