Written by Inka Johnson, EWH’s Summer Institute Coordinator, who served as On-The-Ground-Coordinator (OTGC) for EWH’s first ever Winter Institute (WI), January 2015, in Antigua and Guatemala City, Guatemala.
As promised in my previous blog, here's a bit about each of the hospitals we worked in during the Winter Institute!
San Juan de Dios Hospital, Guatemala City
The most “well-off” of the three hospitals we worked in was San Juan de Dios, which has more than 20 medical departments and a large maintenance staff. Four of the maintenance staff are dedicated “electromedicina” (biomedical) technicians, one of them formally trained in Japan. However, the needs of the hospital far exceed the time and energy of these four staff members. Most of the “simple” fixes at this hospital could be addressed by the staff, but our students were continuously supplied with more and more equipment to fix, from electrosurgery units (ESU) to anesthesia machines. Although the students did enter the main hospital a few times to speak with doctors and other equipment users, the maintenance staff generally supplied us with more than enough work to do.
Favorite fix: After troubleshooting an ESU for days and repairing several more obvious issues, one of our students eventually discovered a fried cockroach creating a carbon bridge that shorted out part of the circuit! After brushing off the remains of the barbequed victim, the unit went back in service.