Floating Doctors Inc

The Floating Doctors Mission is to reduce the present and future burden of disease in the developing world, and to promote improvements in health care delivery worldwide. Our Goals Include: Providing free acute and preventative health care services and delivering donated medical supplies to isolated areas. Reducing child and maternal mortality through food safety/prenatal education, nutritional counseling and clean water solutions. Studying and documenting local systems of health care delivery and identifying what progress have been made, what challenges remain, and what solutions exist to improve health care delivery worldwide. Using the latest communications technologies to bring speciali...
Oct 28, 2014

Fall 2014 Project Progress

Happy birthday little man!
Happy birthday little man!

Over the past few months, Floating Doctors has seen an amazing flurry of activity, particularly in the realm of maternal and fetal health!

Recently, in La Sabana, a 9-month pregnant patient came to clinic.  We performed an ultrasound and found that her baby was in a transverse, or horizontal, position, which can be very dangersous for both mother and baby.  Usually, a baby in transverse position must be delivered by cesarian section, which is nearly impossible in this isolated mountain community accessible only by foot and packhorse.  To compound matters, the team recognized that she could befin labor at any moment.  As daylight was fading, and a night journey down the mountain is very risky, the team was preparing to transport her to the hospital in the morning.  Luckily, we had an obstetric nurse practitioner on our team, who showed the woman some poses and stretches to try in an attempt to get the baby to change position.  The woman listened intently and followed the instructions, and in the middle of the night, the baby moved into the right position.

The next morning, she went into labor, and was able to give birth to a healthy baby with the aid of the local midwives in her own community, without the stress of having to travel many hours to the hospital.  This is one instance where the outcome was the best we could hope for, and we were immensely grateful that we could be there to care for her and provider her with an option to transport to ensure advanced care if necessary.

At another clinic in Playa Verde, where we've built our first remote outpost, we treated a very high number of pregnant women in one clinic at over 30.  On the first day, literally an entire boat full of pregnant women from elsewhere on the peninsula pulled up to the clinic.  Later, in the middle of the night, another boat arrived with a woman and her husband.  She had not been to clinic, but had begun feeling intermittent contractions that evening so had been rushed to us so that we could perform and ultrasound and ensure the baby was in the right position.  Thankful that we have a building to provide privacy and comfort from the weather with our outpost, we took her up to the ultrasound room and were able to confirm that everything looked okay and ready to go.  As she still had quite awhile to go before the birth, she decided to return home and give birth in her community with the parteras that had been caring for her.  We look forward to returning to Playa Verde within the next few weeks to check on mother and baby.

At one of our most recent clinics in Norteno, a woman went into labor on the first day of clinic, but the local midwife was sick and wasn't able to help with the delivery. A few of our volunteers went to the birthing house and delivered the baby.  In order to get to the woman, a river had to be crossed.  During the hours of labor, it rained heavily and the river swelled, trapping the team for many hours.  Thanks to the skills and care of our volunteers, and the strength that so many of our patients share, the birth went flawlessly.  There for the majority of the labor, the woman's husband was present, but he disappeared shortly after the birth without word.  When he returned, he was carrying huge bags of fruit from his farm.  He gave them to our volunteers to show his immense gratitude.

We are so grateful for the support of our many donors and volunteers, who are helping us bring healthcare to pregnant women and new mothers!

a new father
a new father's thanks given to our volunteers
An expectant family views their baby
An expectant family views their baby's ultrasound
Jul 10, 2014

Project Wrap-Up Report!

THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!

Wow! Your donation helped us surpass our goal of $35,000!

Because of your wonderful support awesome progress has been made in bringing medical care to the remote communities of the Bocas del Toro archipelago. You, our wonderful and generous supporters, continue to truly make a difference! 

Your commitment to a permanent presence in Panama ensures continuous follow up care, on-going community improvement projects, and health education year round in the desperately isolated communities we serve. We now have hosted an incredible number of volunteers from all over the world and our goal to establish a sustainable volunteer effort is within reach. Universities from Yale to UC Irvine and USC, from Australia to Britain, have partnered with us on projects involving ultrasound, orthopedics and cultural archiving of traditional indigenous medical botany. 

One case you really made a difference for is a young 13 year-old girl who we found pregnant with a severely impaired and undeliverable baby.  Because we have our ultrasound equipment and our team of dedicated volunteers, and the network we have established in Panama, she was provided with the vital care that she so desperately needed.

A displaced community forced to live on top of a mangrove swamp had a high incidence of infant mortality and illness. Not only did our volunteers treat the medical problems, they built walkways above the swamp and tied the water supply pipes underneath the walkways, up out of the sewage-y water. It's amazing how much healthier this community has become.

When we first were visiting La Sabana.in the high jungle mountains.... the first medical team to ever visit there...the infant mortality was 73%. Today it is 13%. Still too high, but give us a little more time! :-)

We have the very good luck to have Dr. Dan often join us on our clinics. He is a veterinarian, so we truly can help the "whole family"...everything from puppies to sloths.  We can worm everyone.... humans and animals.... and create a much healthier outcome for a whole community. And with your generous donations this can be a lasting effect.

This Global Giving Project may be complete, but our work is far from done. We have created a new Global Giving project pageto help support our mission to provide quality sustainable health care to the Bocas del Toro Region of Panama. If you have a recurring donation to our completed project, Thank You! That donation is automatically being moved to our new project page.

Additionally, we're kicking off our new project page with this month's Bonus Day. On July 16th, all donations made starting at 9 am EDT will be matched at 50%! Help us start this new campaign right! Follow us on Facebook on July 16th to see how we're doing.

Remote Diagnostics
Remote Diagnostics
A happy team after a successful clinic
A happy team after a successful clinic
Our volunteers are the HEART of our mission!
Our volunteers are the HEART of our mission!
Community Solar Installation
Community Solar Installation

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Apr 22, 2014

Our First Remote Outpost

Playa Verde Remote Outpost
Playa Verde Remote Outpost

So far 2014 has been one for the Floating Doctors record books.


In February, we jumped head first into the year with a joint clinic with Mending Kids International, providing pediatric orthopedic surgeries for some of our most vulnerable patients in the archipelago.


In March, we had a record number of volunteers. So many that for the first time ever we ran two simultaneous multi-day clinics, one in Playa Verde and one in Bahia Azul.


That same week, thanks in large part to you, our Global Giving supporters, we opened our first Remote Outpost! On a rainy March day the entire Floating Doctors team in Panama gathered at one of our most remote communities, Playa Verde for the official opening ceremony.


That morning our 40+ volunteers were released on the clinic for finishing touches: sanding, painting, clearing brush, digging drainage ditches, building basic stools and tables, etc. After a thorough painting and scrubbing the town mayor, Ito, called the community for the opening ceremony. An emotional ceremony featuring the beloved Peace Corps worker Eta, the mayor, other town leaders, the construction crew and Dr. Ben spoke about gratitude and the communal hopes for the future of the clinic. This was followed by the required official photos and a big community feast. After that is was back to work providing health care and breaking in our brand new clinic.


Opening this clinic was an important step for us. So often when we are in a community we see a real acute emergency that needs immediate attention: a machete wound, a high fever, a childbirth going bad very quickly, etc. Each time we are grateful we were there to help that person when they needed it most. But each time we leave we know that the next person not be so lucky. There are no doctors, no drug stores, no emergency rooms or urgent care clinics in these communities. Help is a long, expensive trip away.


By setting up this remote clinic we hope to be the help that the next person needs.

Playa Verde Construction Crew
Playa Verde Construction Crew
Playa Verde Clinic opening
Playa Verde Clinic opening
New Exam Bed
New Exam Bed
USC volunteers painting the new clinic
USC volunteers painting the new clinic
Volunteers arriving at Playa Verde
Volunteers arriving at Playa Verde

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