On Monday I started at a new hospital, Lagomaggiore. I spent this week on the labour ward, which was very busy - they average around 15 births a day. Being a public hospital, for people without insurance, the patients tended to be quite poor, with little education. I was surprised by how young they seemed to be, with a typical patient being around my age, giving birth to her third or fourth child.
Compared to Notti, Lagomaggiore is bigger, but the building is definitely more neglected. On the labour ward there were separate areas for women in labour, and those actually ready to deliver. The area for those labouring consisted of 2 rooms, with 5 beds in each. There were no curtains between the beds, and all procedures, including vaginal examinations and urinary catheter insertions, were done in full view of the other patients. The cases of each woman were also openly discussed in the room, including that of one woman with HIV who had come for an elective c-section. Privacy was certainly low on the agenda, and it was a world away from the individual rooms of Hillingdon Hospital!
There seem to lots more medical students at Lagomaggiore, and from Wednesday I joined the group doing obstetrics for their teaching. The doctor in charge of them spoke excellent English, which was good for the more complicated parts, and I learned that much of the medicine they practiced was actually very similar to the UK.
The set up felt much more like being in hospital in the UK than Notti had, where the staff in the department had seemed like almost like a big family. Having said that, the day of us students in Lagomaggiore only really lasted from 8 until 11.30/12. In the afternoon one of the students would stay on the ward, while the rest went home. I stayed a bit longer most days, until 1 or 2, to see a few more births. I do think the students sometimes had other classes later in the day, however I was free to relax :)
Despite the short days, the high patient turnover meant I still saw around 12 births and 6 caesarean sections, and the experience reaffirmed my desire to pursue obs and gynae in the future.
On the Friday I got to visit the milk bank at the hospital, which is only a few months old. It's actually very similar to the one I spent the day in at Queen Charlotte's a few months ago, in fact both are run by equally enthusiastic people! I heard from Nati that the Doctor in charge is often in the news and on TV promoting the service.
I've a few things planned for the weekend, including a long trip to San Rafael and Cañol del Atuel on Sunday, so I'll be updating again fairly soon.