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Anyone want to go to Nepal?

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I think Eric is on a plane to Kathmandu at this time.  I can guess to answer your question as I worked an earthquake with NYC-Medics before.  I think there is a good chance they will still be sending teams in July, unless they run out of money or personnel.  They will not run out of need by then.  


I really wanted to go on this one but could not. I hope I can by July as Nepal and I have a strong connection. Maybe we can go together.  But it never hurts to apply.

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What credentials are required/desired by NYC Medics?  I added two weeks unpaid leave for this kind of work to my contract with current employer and have not taken advantage of this yet.  I have a background in family medicine and women's health, but not in emergency medicine.

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I'm going to throw out an idea.  I threw this idea out five years ago and I can't remember the response. But now I want to float this balloon again, because like they say you must strike the iron when it is hot.


Who here would be interested in joining a group of PAs to adopt one Nepalese village?  My vision is where a group of us raise money to rebuild the school and clinic of a village as well as created a healthy water supply. The next step is where we rotate through that village to supply medical support for awhile.  


I know of a village this would work for. I was there five years ago and they were just finishing a school/clinic. I worked in that clinic and it was almost done except for the dirt floors.  I heard from people on the ground that besides 80% of the homes gone, the new school/clinic is a pile of rubble.  Building this was very difficult where 90 lb women carried 120 lb bags of cement on their heads for 45 miles to make the mortar. 


Now when Eric and some of the rest of you get back, you may have a different village in mind and that would be fine with me.  I just know there are hundreds of hurting villages.  This is just an idea.

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The latest from NYC-Medics:


May 5, 2015





Thank you for responding to our volunteer survey.  We currently have a 12 person team on the ground in Nepal operating in Dhading District, close to the epicenter of the earthquake.  The Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has additionally asked NYC Medics to continue operating mobile medical teams for up to three months in Nepal.  We are thus looking for additional volunteers for subsequent teams.


Available dates of deployment are as follows:


- May 15-30


- June 1-30 (preference will be given to volunteers signing up for 1-month deployments, but we may consider volunteers committing to either 6/1-15 or 6/15-30)


- July 1-30 (again, preference for 1-month deployments, will consider 7/1-7/15 and 7/15-7/30)


Unfortunately, because of in-country logistics, we can't be flexible on dates.  The whole team will likely be transported by helicopter or by truck ride of several hours in order to get to the remote communities that we target within Nepal, so arriving at disparate times isn’t possible.


Again, NYC Medics covers airfare and in-country transportation and food while you are in the field.  Teams are equipped with medications and medical supplies.  Volunteers are responsible only for personal gear and incidental costs.


Please respond via our Nepal volunteer survey and include which dates you can commit to.  Thank you for your continued support of NYC Medics and your willingness to help the people of Nepal as they recover from this devastating earthquake.


NYC Medics Nepal Deployment Survey

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I'd be interested in knowing more specifically about the role of a volunteer PA in this setting (as well as similar ones like it)...

I think that I can answer that as I have worked with NYC Medics after an earthquake in the Himalayans (Kashmir) and have worked with a different group in Nepal in this very area where the team is heading.  I’m also in contact daily with people on the ground. However, each situation is different and my not be exactly as I describe.


You will be going to the village of jharlang (unless things change again). You can google jharlang, Nepal and find a good map and information. You will work at the top of your abilities in an autonomous role. There may be MDs on the team as colleagues.


In the best of times this area is no accessible by road.  There is (was) a very good foot trail to the nearest jeep road that you can reach in about 30 miles (I’ve walked it).  So, getting in now will probably be by helicopter.


Even before the earthquake, most of this area did not have electricity.  There is some spotty micro-hydroelectric generations for the richer folks.  Previously there was running water (not inside the homes) at certain spots from gravity fed springs on the hill. That may have been disrupted by the earthquake.


As part of this team you will be living in tents.  You will probably have your own private mountaineering tent. There will be a tent or tarp surrounded pit toilet.  There will probably be a large dinning tent or shelter.  The food will either be supply by local cooks, or eating Mountain House freeze dried food.  If by local cooks, expect eggs, curry over rice with vegetables and sometimes meat, chicken or goat.


The routine is to get up in the morning and clean up the best you can. I found a hand-held “solar shower” a wonderful luxury.  Some used the creeks (snow melt so cold). Then you have breakfast together (sometimes) and start clinic.  The people usually start lining up before clinic starts and some will have walked over 10 miles that morning . . . while sick.


You will probably have tents as clinic areas since the school (so I’ve heard from the ground) has fallen and this summer will be monsoon season. There are translators but I doubt if there is enough for everyone to have one. I had the luxury of having my own in Pakistan but by the end of three weeks I could get along without one.  In Nepal the language situation is more complex (see this language map: http://www.muturzikin.com/cartesasie/12.htm )  They will speak a variation of Tibetan rather than Nepalese.


The clinic hours are determined by the need. When I was in Nepal, we had clinic from about 9 AM until 2 PM.  If the demand is higher, it could be longer. Then everyone is on-call for drop in emergencies day and night.


There may be a need to venture out to do a remote clinic, but I doubt it. The reason is, the Nepalese are used to walking long distances for care and will come to you.




As it is now, there is none. No hospitals, labs, X ray or other tools in the region.  However, and this happened in Pakistan, there may be an NGO that comes in somewhere and sets up a MASH unit.  In Pakistan, we had Iranian equipment (they had left) and we used their X ray machine. The Cubans had a MASH unit 3 miles away for surgical cases. But, there may be none of that.  When I worked in the area, if there was a surgical emergency, they were either carried 30-40 miles on the backs of their families and then put in a taxi van to Kathmandu or they died (most likely they died).


NYC Medics will have a mobile pharmacy including IV supplies and basic meds to choose from.  It is hard to know how many resources you will have.  It depends on what supplies have been brought in by June.


The conditions that you will treat, knowing this area and previous post-earthquake experiences will include:

1) Acute respiratory infections from URI to Bronchitis to pneumonia

2) New orthopedic injuries (from twisted ankles to fractures).

3) Untreated chronic illnesses including HTN, diabetes, autoimmune disease, RAD and others.

4) Old non-union fractures from the earthquake or from old accidents

5) Chronic joint disease including untreated rheumatological disorders.

6) Soft tissue infections including old earthquake related wounds.

7) GI complaints (number one complaint we saw in that valley) which could represent a lot of things. It could parasitic disease all the way to early typhoid or even cholera.

8) Headache (was the number two thing we saw in Nepal when I was there, just like the rest of the world)

9) TB of lung or other organs, joints and etc.

10) Rare Malaria

11) other acute injuries including a lot of eye injuries (no one wears glasses injuries come from threashing millet to harmering stones and etc,) lacerations and puncuture wounds.


There are a network of midwives that take care of most GYN/OB issues.  There are also a network of “Heath Aids” that are like the barefoot doctors of China. Many of them speak English. They must be respected for the work they do 24/7/365.

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...My wife and I are very very very interested in going second half July just don't think we'd qualify

I'm not sure why you think that.  I own a headache clinic. However, in my previous lives I've been an ER PA, a rheumatology PA and etc. so I do remember how to sew people up, aspirate joints and etc. If you are a PA you qualify.  I listed the things that you will see and none are over your head. I feel more comfortable in the field where I have no resources and have to be McGyver-PA that where I need to be ordering exotic tests on rare and complex systemic illnesses.

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My wife and I would rock in this situation. Both quick and efficient, can bare the conditions, kind of like when we go on big hikes in the Maine wilderness, and we're incredibly compassionate. The NYC medics state you need to be a PA for 2 years.. We miss that cut off..maybe..technically I've been certified for 2 years by the end of the month..working 2 years this September..also we don't have any experience in volunteering or working in a similar experience either.. If you think they'd take us..then we'd love to go!

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My wife and I would rock in this situation. Both quick and efficient, can bare the conditions, kind of like when we go on big hikes in the Maine wilderness, and we're incredibly compassionate. The NYC medics state you need to be a PA for 2 years.. We miss that cut off..maybe..technically I've been certified for 2 years by the end of the month..working 2 years this September..also we don't have any experience in volunteering or working in a similar experience either.. If you think they'd take us..then we

I think if you offer to go for four weeks they will rake you. I (and my wife ) would love to go for four weeks if I could figure out how to keep my clinic from going bankrup

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Seems like both of us are in a quagmire.. Definitely cannot go for a month..and yeah... You've come this far, that's a tough spot :(

I feel your pain. I would LOVE! to go for a month but my  clinic would literally be bankrupt upon my return.

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