Through Health Bridges International, I was given the chance to do something that I’ve only ever been on the receiving end of - teaching healthcare.
I was able to attend and participate as part of the HBI teaching team, a 3-day volunteer firefighter training course, and in particular help with the CPR component.
This was especially significant for me because, just weeks earlier, I’d been working in a hospital in Lima and had watched my first death in the Shock/Trauma room. The man was in the final stages of heart failure and the residents took turns performing CPR. But all of their rates of compression were incredibly fast, so fast it seemed impossible that there was enough time for blood flow to return. I don’t believe this changed the outcome, but it did trouble me. Was I just succumbing to "American" feelings of medical system superiority? Or was it something I could actually improve?
I never got the chance to talk about how the residents learned CPR, and left the experience disappointed that I was too reluctant to speak up. And then HBI handed me an opportunity to do something about it - I got to help teach brand new firefighters how to slow their compressions and think about what their patients’ hearts need in times of struggle. It was as close to redemption as I could have hoped for. Thank you, HBI. (Amity Calvin, is a third year medical student at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon; she recently spent time in Perú working with HBI as a part of her medical school training)
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.