Just another cold and rainy day in the desert. I can’t believe I worried about not bringing enough shorts. The UN provides healthcare to Palestinians with refugee status, which is a deceiving title, since many of them are the children or grandchildren of Palestinians who lived on property that became Israel in the wars of 1948 and 1967. Today we worked with doctors in an outpatient clinic in the Am’ari camp. Camps are really small cities, or neighborhoods within cities, where refugees are concentrated and where the UN controls facilities and utilities.

 I worked with Dr. Ghasan, a 32-year old Palestinian pediatrician who studied in Ukraine and worked in Cairo before moving back to the West Bank last year. Outpatient clinic here is fast and furious. The doctor literally call out “NEXT!” when he/she is done with a patient. And people are always barging into the exam room. Nurses, other patients, the wonderful tea/coffee lady, you name it. The pharmaceutical representative even barged in and gave a quick spiel on his wonderful combination steroid and anti-fungal cream. At least he left samples. And they work fast. Patients bring in all their paperwork and imaging and laboratory results. No computers on the premises.

We had lunch with the clinic director. Coffee lady was there, smoking, and keeping us stocked with pita. Josh and Mike were nearly knocked out by a new pepper they thought looked like a jalapeno. It was not. Back to more fast and furious patients, and we were done by the early afternoon. And loud. There just isn’t the quiet conversation that I have become used to in the states. Both the doctors and patients seem more animated (and opinionated) than their Midwestern counterparts.


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