Sad To Leave!

September 28th, 2014 by jamesnorman

I returned safely home one week ago today. For my last post, I though I would share the email that I sent to my co-residents and faculty upon my leaving Honduras.




Friends and colleagues: Today, I’ll finish my last clinic at Loma de Luz and begin a long series of bus-bus-plane-plane-bus rides that will eventually get me back to South Bend before the end of the weekend. In most of my correspondences with you all, I have perhaps been a bit chistoso in place that is very often the opposite of silly.


The healthcare system here is nothing short of fractured and dysfunctional, exacerbated by varying degrees of poverty and a public health system that is unable to approach meeting the needs of its citizens. During my time here, the physicians and nurses at the “tertiary care” hospital in San Pedro Sula marched in protest of insufficient supplies and medications. In many ways, Loma de Luz an exception, but it is, of course, far from any concept of standard-of-care that we know. I have had to make decisions here, difficult and painful, that would be unthinkable back home. I do not envy, but do revere, those here who have dedicated a portion of their lives to relentless pursuit of high quality care in spite of limited resources. And I am thankful that I got to spend a few days joining in their fight and lightening their workload.


Though pushed to the limits of my comfort zone, I was never asked to perform outside of my scope of practice. That scope of practice we have the privilege of defining very broadly. Three years ago, Memorial promised me broad-based training, and this month proved that they made good on that promise.


Lastly, this trip came at a time in my life when I needed it most. The past few months for me have been difficult for myriad reasons, and, given the day-to-day expectations of the work, I had not had time to appropriately process it all. While there were very busy days here, there was more time for study and reflection than I have had in very long while. I feel more centered now, than I have perhaps in years. The fact that my absence meant more work almost all of you is not lost on me. For each of you that rounded on my groupers, managed my box, and were flexible with the schedule, I cannot begin to thank you.


I look forward to seeing some of you Sunday night and many more on Monday.


Hasta entonces, Norman