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 15, 2013

Fall 2013

Two volunteers checking X-Ray during clinic
Two volunteers checking X-Ray during clinic

 

Floating Doctors had a productive and busy summer in Panama, conducting clinics in Norteno, Bahia Azul and Ensenada. Volunteers from around the world donated their time and skills throughout the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

 

We were visited and partnered by Sermo, the largest online community, exclusive to physicians. With over 200,000 licensed physicians, Sermo is facilitating collaboration in medicine like never before. The Rio Cana community was visited for the first time. To get there the volunteers traveled 6 hours through the archipelago by panga, then navigated up over a reef at the mouth of the river and up the river to the community. Several complicated cases were presented by satellite to Sermo and consults appeared from all over the network. This cutting edge use of social media by Sermo and Floating Doctors was noted by Unicef.

One woman on the outskirts of Rio Cana delivered a baby, and then began to bleed out. Volunteers bundled her into a panga with the newborn and crossed the archipelago by flashlight and moonlight. They made it to the mainland hospital ...mother and child doing well! This on the very night the Lawrence Family Foundation was awarding Floating Doctors a grant for the first, permanent clinic. 

Noah Haas is installing solar power stations in remote villages to bring internet to these remote areas which will greatly enhance the ability of Floating Doctors to connect these isolated peoples with the world's online medical community.  

Volunteers continue to collect cultural history of the Ngobe. 

The electronic medical record system, unique to the kind of work Floating Doctors does, is nearly finished and will be another contribution to the international medical relief community. 

One happy personal note: 

Karine Tchakerian will be joining Floating Doctors permanently as Mrs. LaBrot!!

Karine earned her Masters in Nursing Science from UCLA, graduating this last June. Dr. Ben and Karine were married Oct. 5. Welcome aboard, Karine!

 


 
Conducing a house call in Norteno
Conducing a house call in Norteno
The community of Cierro Brujo
The community of Cierro Brujo
Floating Doctors team after a clinic in Bahia Azul
Floating Doctors team after a clinic in Bahia Azul
Noah Haas installing solar panels
Noah Haas installing solar panels
Telecom team with community members
Telecom team with community members

Links:

Jul 16, 2013

Summer 2013 Report

A partera using the ultrasound on a pregnant women
A partera using the ultrasound on a pregnant women

This summer has brought a large amount of volunteer support to the Floating Doctors and the communities that we serve.  Monthly we have been hosting over 29 volunteers that include doctors, nurses, students, and visiting specialized groups.  We have been visiting multiple communities daily by distributing our volunteers all over the archipelago and coastal mainland and have been able to see hundreds of patients each month!

To continue and further advance our health education proram we were happy to collaborate with a group of medical students from the University of California Irvine (UCI) throughout June and July.  The nine UCI students received training in pregnancy ultrasound techniques through-out their school year in preparation for this project.   They came to Panama with two objectives.  The first was to find incidence of placenta previa and breech births.  The second was to teach the parteras, the traditional midwives within the communities, how to find these conditions. The group facilitated clinics and trainings with the goal of preventing complicated births, which are often life threatening in these rural villages.  When the group entered a community, they recruited all of the pregnant women to receive an ultrasound.  The students worked side by side with the parteras to perform the examinations.  After a multi-day clinic, one student reflected on her experience.

“There was one lady who had not felt her baby move for a few weeks.  She was very worried there was something wrong with the baby.  It was very rewarding to listen to the fetal heart with the ultrasound and see that everything was fine.  She was relieved.”

This was just one of many examples that showed the importance and value of performing the ultrasounds in these rural villages.  In another instance, a baby could not be detected.  The overseeing doctor confirmed that there was no baby, but rather a molar pregnancy.  This is a condition where the placenta overgrows and can be cancerous.  As a result of the ultrasound findings, the doctor sent the patient for further evaluation at the nearest hospital. 

Not only were the UCI students using the ultrasound machines to identify possible complications, but more importantly, they were teaching the local parteras how to use them.   By combining traditional knowledge with modern day technology, the project introduced a sustainable way of identifying easily preventable conditions that would otherwise be fatal in these rural areas. 


Lesly Martinez,UCI student, trains Catelina
Lesly Martinez,UCI student, trains Catelina
UCI students after a day of partera training
UCI students after a day of partera training
Training parteras in Valle Escondido
Training parteras in Valle Escondido

Links:

Apr 24, 2013

April 2013 Update! Cleft Palate Repair!

Noris and Rolando. Rolando is the youngest of 5
Noris and Rolando. Rolando is the youngest of 5

We met Rolando over a year ago, when he was just under a year old...he was so tiny and so fragile, underweight (hard for cleft lip babies to nurse)...we got him through all his aspiration pneumonias, put weight on him, got him to OpSmile last year when they came to Panama but he developed a fever and had to postpone...for a year...
Two days ago we brought him back again, across the water from Isla Popa II to Bocas, from Bocas over a 5,000 foot tall mountain range to the other side of the continent, and today at 3PM the surgical team repaired his lip AND palate!!

Thank you OpSmile, you guys are AWESOME!!!

His mom Noris is one of the greatest moms we have encountered ANYWHERE--a true example of putting your kids first as a parent...she had never been to the mainland before our first trip last year, never been in a car or a city, never seen a building with more than one floor...I will NEVER forget driving over the mountains, walking into the 8 story hospital in a city of 1 million, where the doors automatically opened, and seeing her brace herself as the elevator we were in started to move....so much overwhelming new stuff, and she has sooooo much dignity and determination. 
This is what it means when your patients trust you...and what can be accomplished when they do! 

I can't wait to show Rolando these pictures when he is older...I wonder what his future will hold...
Can't wait to see. I've been his doctor for more than half his life...I always admired my dad's relationship with patients he had for 30 years or more.
This is why I spent all that time studying medicine in the first place...this is the salary I take from Floating Doctors, the pay that cannot be taxed and can never be taken from me, the pay that makes me feel like the richest man in the world.

 

Dr. Benjamin LaBrot

Bill Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile
Bill Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile
Operation Smile check-in day...225 kids
Operation Smile check-in day...225 kids
Going station to station
Going station to station
4th on the list for one of the 4 operating rooms
4th on the list for one of the 4 operating rooms
looking at where his cleft lip USED to be!
looking at where his cleft lip USED to be!

Links:

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