About eight months ago Dr. Eric Sandler approached me about going to Mongolia with him in August. I told him I would think about it. Months went by and with my busy schedule I did not reflect on his request as I should have. However, by the time he asked me again, I had taken the time to reflect on making this incredible journey to a place I would not have envisioned going to. As a pediatric intensivist who trained and worked in a developing country, Jamaica, before coming to North America, I felt that I could make a difference. Critically ill children exist in every part of the world and I am sure I will be able to provide some assistance to the patients and physicians there. This will be a challenging trip not only because of the very different culture that I will be exposed to but also working with the limited equipment and technology that exists in the hospital I will be going to.
I understand that the hospital, National Center for Maternal and Child Health, is the only pediatric hospital in Mongolia. Children are brought there from all over Mongolia and they do not have an established transport system like we have here. I am looking forward to providing some guidance in transporting critically ill children, giving lectures on critical care topics and also consulting on patients in their critical care area.
This will be my first trip to Asia and am excited at the opportunity to visit a new continent. After watching a video on Mongolia by Globe Trekkers, I was somewhat apprehensive about visiting Mongolia. However, Eric Sandler assured me that we will have a more refined experience that what I saw on the video. I am looking forward to sleeping in a ger and seeing the sights and sounds in Ulaanbataar and other parts of the country.
This morning, I got up @4.30am and made it to Jax airport with all my three suitcases. Found out that weight limit per suitcase was 52 lbs. One of my suitcases was over by 8lbs. Luckily Eric was at the check in counter at the same time to take some stuff from me. I am taking several books and some medical supplies on the trip. Adam had us worried as Eric and I got to the gate before he did as he overslept. On to Atlanta we go and then to Seoul before we get to Ulaanbataar.
-Dr. Michael Gayle