Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bring it on (and get it working, reading, monitoring, heating, lighting, ...)

Following a challenging first day at Hospital Nacional Pedro de Bethancourt, the team headed back bright and early Thursday morning to continue our efforts. After arriving at the hospital and dividing into groups, Anna, Daniel and Sara grouped up to investigate the functionality of several patient monitors. The team also tested and repaired an infant monitor, and worked with the hospital staff to teach them in detail how to operate the monitor. Michael, Chris, Mary Kate and Casey tested the ECG, blood pressure and SpO2 measurement functions of four other patient monitors. In this project, they also repaired several beat up SpO2 modules. The quartet, with the assistance of Dr. P, also tested three ventilators and identified malfunction in their oxygen-level sensors. Chris also repaired a cervix cauterizing implement. Miranda, Nate and Dr. Walker took the title of electronics sleuths of the day for their work on an infant warmer and incubator.
Nate troubleshoots circuitry inside an infant warmer with our translator, Josh
First, they identified that it was missing fuses and fuse caps, which they were able to replace with the help of our local translator Josh. Then, after hearing from the hospital maintenance staff that the warmer burned through these fuses especially quickly and that a burning smell resulted when the device was powered on, they searched through all the boards and found a resistor with significant burn marks. The team replaced it, eliminating the burning smell and restoring usability to the infant warmer ("Elementary, my dear engineer"). Nate also got a firsthand look at the user environment of a device designed and donated in 2012 by Vandy alumna Becca Hudson.  In the neonatal unit, Nate tested the bilirubin light and got some firsthand experience of the busy facility where several newborn babies were transported to and from. Ally, Orlando and Jake were able to apply the lighting repair skills honed yesterday at the X-Ray viewing light box to the repair of an infant warmer and its associated light fixture. Amidst the busy, crowded environment nestled between actively used delivery rooms and newborn care areas, the team repaired their assigned devices as they jumped back and forth between hallways and break rooms in order to minimize their interference with the maternity ward’s activities. Each of the three team members applied some clutch electronics diagnostic and repair skills as they reinstalled a heating element to the infant warmer, troubleshot the light for a burnt out bulb and replaced it, restoring the entire module to use and demonstrating it to the maternity ward staff.

Jake, Ally and Orlando install a heating element into an infant warmer for the maternity ward

At the entrance to our tasty Thursday
night dining location
"Los tres cebollines" (Daniel, Michael and Jake)
se disfrutan Los Cebollines
After a busy day at Pedro de Bethancourt, the team retreated to the hotel to clean up and walk over to dinner at Los Cebollines on a rainy night in Antigua. The team had the pleasure of being accompanied by Clara, a personal friend of Dr. P and native Antigua resident. Enjoying a wide variety of platos de pesca, frijoles, cedra, pollo y más (fish, bean, pork and chicken dishes and more), our group was treated to yet another memorable dinner. Among other great conversation was a group discussion of yesterday’s discussion question: What is your opinion on the ethics, advantages and problems of the product life cycle seen in the medical device industry? As with virtually all the week’s reflection questions, the team had an enhanced view of the subject as it drew on a multitude of experiences we've had here in some of Guatemala’s various healthcare facilities. 
The team enjoys a customarily awesome and stimulating dinner discussion after a long day of work;
pictured is a rare photo of a seldomly witnessed occurrence: Chris talking to people

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