Week 1 Reflections from Ethan

Since I last wrote a post, I was able to spend some time in Neurology, Gastroenterology, and at the Developmental Center at Dr. Rita’s orphanage. During the remainder of our week at WCMC, I learned more about the difference between American health care and Mongolian health care. Aside from the differences in medicines that are available for the physicians to prescribe and administer, the equipment is also vastly different. The neurologist at the hospital has been treating patients with seizures without the availability of an EEG! For Hematology/Oncology, the physicians were not comfortable with the hospital’s pathologists interpretation of solid tumors as they had so little experience.

It is important to realize that in the few years that the Wolfson’s group has been coming to Mongolia, the hospital has undergone significant changes. The Hematology/Oncology unit went from one room with about 12 beds, to THREE FLOORS in a brand new building totaling 56 beds! They are constantly learning and improving, and will begin to receive patients with brain tumors and solid tumors in January. The residents and new physicians that we encountered all work extremely hard, but the person who works the hardest is the social worker, who is the only one for the whole hospital and volunteers her time on the weekend to make sure she has time to spend with Hem/Onc patients and their families. What I took away from this trip is that all of the staff at WCMC has the intelligence and drive to provide excellent health care. What they lack, is some of the necessary resources that American medicine takes for granted. Their job in Mongolia is incredibly difficult, yet they are always optimistic toward the future as they continue to gain new technology and resources that they can use.

Overall, the medical center was surprising for the improvement they have had over the last few years, especially that new building. The reason the system continues to improve, however, is the bright, hard-working staff that is constantly looking for innovative ways to treat their patients with their limited resources. I look forward to seeing or hearing about the strides they take over the next few years, and hope that they continue to improve at the rapid pace I observed during my time Mongolia Bound.

-Ethan Sandler

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1 Comment

  1. Karen Wolfson

     /  September 28, 2015

    Hi Ethan:

    Thank you so much for your sensitive and illuminating recount of your experience in Mongolia. We’re so very thankful for the work that you and all of your team members are doing in the hospital there.


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