Help from Dr. John McKean
Dr. John McKean, a radiologist from Mills Memorial Hospital in San Mateo, has recruited many of these doctors and dentists, and has flown three groups down in a private plane. Although these “flying doctors” can usually stay only a few days, they accomplish a surprising amount.
X-Ray Unit Arranged by Dr. McKean
The installation of an X-ray unit which Dr. McKean arranged to have donated, has been a major advance. On Dr. McKean’s first visit, we simply hung the X-ray head by block and tackle from the roof, sat the patient in a chair six feet away, and shot the exposure. Our power source is a somewhat reluctant gasoline generator, which we revved up extra fast to provide sufficient output. We constructed a small darkroom, and the night before Dr. McKean’s departure developed the first plates. To our delight, they turned out well.
Since Dr. McKean can only remain in Ajoya for brief periods, regular use of the X-ray unit depends on training other personnel. To this end, Dr. McKean first taught Bob Steiner † and myself the technical procedures. He also provided us with books on interpretation, and when I was back in California, went through X-ray teaching files at Mills Hospital with me. As with many aspects of our underdeveloped clinic, our X-ray department of necessity adopts the principle of “See one …do one…teach one.” Bob Steiner taught the X-ray procedures to Annette Thorn. † † and this summer I taught Bill Gonda and Phil Mease, pre-medical students at Stanford. We have also begun to train a village boy as a technician. On Dr. McKean’s return visits we “work out the bugs”, and we reviews the X-rays we have taken.
As with many aspects of our underdeveloped clinic, our X-ray department of necessity adopts the principle of “See one …do one…teach one.”
† Bob Steiner. semi-retired electrical engineer and self-made medic, and his wife, Dorothy, have been coming to help us for the last three years.
† † Annette Thorn, a Stanford graduate student, helped in Ajoya for three months.
Our X-ray facility is a great aid in diagnosis and follow-up of tubercular patients. The incidence of tuberculosis in our area is still frighteningly high, 2nd is complicated by the fact that many patients regard the disease as incurable and fear it so much they conceal diagnostic information (e .g, coughing of blood). Fortunately, enough of our patients have shown dramatic response to treatment, that, with renewed hope, more and more tubercular patients come in for treatment. Word spreads; patients now come from 60 or more miles back into the mountains, often on foot, which for a T.B. patient is a fair effort. With an ever-increasing number of tubercular patients, our biggest problem at present is keeping stocked with sufficient medication for the prolonged therapy… sometimes up to three years or more. †
† Shortly after writing this, we were given $2500.00 worth of T. B. medicine by Henry Grillo of Andover, Mass.
Dr. McKean’s Volunteers: Dr. Roberta Course and Dr. Julia Baker
Of the doctors that flew down with Dr. McKean, we were delighted that Dr. Roberta Course, a young General Practitioner from Palo Alto, returned in July to take charge of the Ajoya clinic for the summer. As this coincided with my own absence from the clinic, her assistance was especially appreciated.
Last spring, we had a visit from Dr. Julia Baker, an American-born pediatrician from Mexico City. Dr. Baker has been donating three months of each year as a volunteer medic in the Orient. This year she is committed, but next year we hope she will come to the Ajoya clinic. To entice her, we have even promised to build an outhouse, which will be an innovation not only for the clinic but for the village.